Your home plays a huge role in maintaining your health. Prioritizing a safe and healthy home environment for your family can help reduce exposure to the health risks lurking inside your walls.
Some home hazards are obvious. However, others can go unnoticed until it’s too late. To avoid falling victim to lesser-known home hazards, prioritize educating yourself on how to identify risks early on. Being proactive will help create a safer home and reduce future health issues.
As we move into September, here are a few ways to keep your home healthy and your family safe.
Though asbestos is banned in most countries, it was a popular building material until recently. Even though it is no longer used in many places, asbestos-containing materials are still found in older homes and buildings.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral commonly used in insulation, fireproofing materials, and other construction materials due to its ability to resist heat and fire damage. Unfortunately, this mineral poses a health risk because it can cause cancer if enough fibers are inhaled into the lungs.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a day dedicated to raising awareness of the disease and its dangers. One way you can help to prevent mesothelioma is by keeping your home safe, clean, and healthy.
Asbestos is a mineral that was used in many industries for decades before being discovered as harmful to humans. Unfortunately, it’s still found in many homes today. It’s important to know you can take steps to reduce your risk of exposure.
Here Are Some Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe From Asbestos:
- If you have vinyl flooring, try not to walk on it barefoot or with socks. You should also avoid sweeping or vacuuming the floor without using a HEPA vacuum cleaner (which traps small particles).
- If you have any building material containing asbestos, such as floor tiles or shingles, make sure they’re sealed up tight. Sealing it ensures no dust gets into the air.
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a necessary time to consider how to protect yourself. Unfortunately, the majority of people who develop mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos at home.
Asbestos was used in a wide range of building materials and insulation until it was banned in the U.S. in 1972. You might find asbestos in your attic or basement if you have any older buildings in your neighborhood that were built before the ban.
If you live in an older house, it’s important to take steps to keep your home safe from asbestos exposure.
Here are some tips:
- Keep your home clean and free of dust by vacuuming regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum. Use a wet cloth on hard surfaces instead of dusting.
- Have your heating system cleaned yearly by The Cooling Company, a professional specializing in heating systems (not just air duct cleaning).
- Always use caution when removing old paint or plaster from walls and ceilings because these materials may contain asbestos fibers. These fibers become airborne when disturbed by scraping or sanding them away without wearing proper safety gear first!
Why Is Mesothelioma Awareness Needed?
Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a day dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure. Asbestos was once considered an essential building material, but it was later discovered that it is highly carcinogenic. Because of this, it has been banned in most countries. However, millions of people still live in homes that contain asbestos, and many more have been exposed to asbestos in other ways.
Mesothelioma is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer because it attacks the lining covering your internal organs. This makes it difficult for doctors to treat because they cannot surgically remove all of the cancerous cells. Mesothelioma can also spread to other parts of your body through your bloodstream or lymphatic system.
There are no known cures for mesothelioma, so it’s important to protect yourself from asbestos exposure as much as possible.
Asbestos was used in many building materials, such as ceiling tiles, floor tiles, and wallboard, between 1940 and 1980. It is also found in automobile brake linings and insulation on boilers, pipes, and ducts. If you have any of these building materials in your home, you may be at risk for mesothelioma.
If you are concerned about your home’s safety from asbestos fibers, there are steps you can take to ensure that the air quality in your home is safe for your family’s health.
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)
The Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a time for us to reflect on the dangers of asbestos and how we can prevent ourselves and our loved ones from being exposed.
The ADAO recommends that you take the following steps to keep your home safe:
- Before you begin renovations or repairs, contact a professional inspector to ensure there is no asbestos in your home. This will reduce the risk of exposure to any of these fibers.
- Make sure all contractors are trained to handle asbestos safely. They should be wearing protective gear and using methods approved by the EPA.
- If you notice signs of damage or deterioration in your home, such as worn carpeting or crumbling walls, call an inspector immediately so they can come out and test for asbestos before it becomes airborne! Symptoms of these cancers can take 10 to 50 years to develop, and the life expectancy for mesothelioma ranges from 18 months to 10 years, based on the case. In situations like these, it’s better to be safe than sorry and work with an inspector who can help you avoid potential hazards like this one, especially if your insulation needs to be replaced.
Asbestos exposure is one of the leading causes of mesothelioma, and it can be found in a wide range of household products. It’s important to know how to spot signs that your home may have asbestos in it so you can take action.
Here Are Some Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe:
- Be sure you’re using upholstered furniture from reputable companies only. Unfortunately, many companies still use asbestos in their products today, so make sure they’re not yours!
- Don’t buy used furniture if you don’t know where it came from or how it was treated. You’ll want to get a professional inspection if you do decide to purchase used items.
- If you own an old building made before 1980, consider having annual inspections done by an accredited specialist who has experience with detecting asbestos. Your local health department may also be able to point you in the right direction for getting these inspections done professionally and affordably. Of course, you can always use ADAO’s website as a resource.
How Did Mesothelioma Awareness Day Start?
Mesothelioma Awareness Day was started in 2009 by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. This foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to increase awareness of mesothelioma, the disease caused by exposure to asbestos. The day is held annually on the third Wednesday of May. The idea for Mesothelioma Awareness Day came from the founder of the Cancer Research Institute, Dr. Anthony B. Miller. Dr. Miller was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1979 and died in 1982. His daughter, Kim Miller-Spillane, started the annual awareness day in 1983 to honor her father’s memory and raise awareness about his disease.
At Risk Areas for Asbestos in Homes
Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways you might be exposed to asbestos without realizing it!
Here’s a list of the most common areas where you can find asbestos in your home:
- Floor tiles and subfloors: Asbestos was used in many flooring products until the 1980s. It was also used as a fire retardant in carpets and vinyl flooring until 1999.
- Roofing materials: (Asbestos was used commonly in roofing materials until the 1980s). Roofing felt, vermiculite, and other materials often contain asbestos.
- Old insulation material: (Used before 1990). Insulation may be something you don’t think about when looking to update your home for safety. However, if your home was built before the 1980s, there’s a good chance that your attic and heat pipes may have been insulated with vermiculite insulation or asbestos as a pipe insulator. Your attic may need new insulation if this is the case. Asbestos and other hazardous materials could have been used due to their durability against heat, but they can cause life-threatening health issues once these materials are disturbed. Depending on the type of insulation in your home, this usually won’t be replaced for 20 to 80 years. Older homes will most likely need insulation replaced due to the quality of the older products. If you find that your insulation contains asbestos, it’s best to hire a professional to help with removal. Asbestos has been known to cause cancers such as mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs. The important thing to note here is that symptoms of these cancers can take 10 to 50 years to develop, and the life expectancy for mesothelioma ranges from 18 months to 10 years, based on the case. In situations like these, it’s better to be safe than sorry and work with an inspector who can help you avoid potential hazards like this one, especially if your insulation needs to be replaced.
- Older plumbing materials: (Asbestos was also used in these)
- Window caulking: Asbestos was used to make window caulking until 2002 and door gaskets until 2004. The EPA recommends replacing all windows if they have caulking made with asbestos-containing materials.
- Wallboard: Look inside closets, bathrooms, and crawl spaces where wallboard is installed.
- Furnaces/Radiant Heat Systems: Check around gas furnaces for any signs of deterioration. Look at the insulation around pipes leading into the furnace room. Check for cracks in the walls around where the piping comes through from outdoors. If possible, remove any damaged insulation and replace it with non-asbestos products.
- Ceiling Tiles: The ceiling is one of the most at-risk areas for asbestos in homes. Asbestos was used in ceilings because it’s fireproof and easy to mold into various shapes and sizes. In addition, it absorbs sound, which is why you often hear about older homes having “asbestos popcorn” ceilings. Unfortunately, these ceilings are hazardous when damaged or improperly removed during renovations. If you’ve had a fire or flood damage to your home and the ceiling needs to be repaired or replaced, make sure that you hire licensed professionals who use proper safety procedures when handling asbestos material. Asbestos was used as an insulator. It was so effective at keeping the heat in during the cold months and making sure your house stayed cool in the summer that it became very popular. People loved how asbestos made their homes feel comfortable all year round. Still, they didn’t realize that asbestos is a dangerous carcinogen that can cause mesothelioma.
If You Suspect Your Home Has Asbestos
If you suspect your home has asbestos, you should check with a professional who can test the material and let you know the risks involved with its removal. First, get yourself and any family members out of the house. Leave the area where the asbestos is located and close all doors behind you. Don’t disturb anything in the room, or try to clean up any of the exposed asbestos fibers. Next, call a professional inspector to remove the asbestos-containing material.
Contact a professional to test for asbestos and remove it if necessary. This can be done by the professional taking a sample of the suspected material, putting it in a container, and having it analyzed by a laboratory. If your lab test comes back positive for asbestos, you should hire an experienced asbestos abatement contractor to come out and remove the material.
The Cooling Company wants your family to be healthy. Please contact us for any HVAC needs where we can help improve and protect your family.