Asbestos is a group of silicate minerals comprised of tiny, microscopic fibres that take the form of fibrous crystals. Although asbestos was widely used for thousands of years in a wide range of industries, it was the construction industry that it saw its most extensive use where it's strength, electrical resistance, and comparatively low cost made it a popular insulation material. Asbestos can be found in properties built as recently as the 1980s although the use of the material was prohibited after that time. If you discover a substance that you think might be asbestos, then it is best to call an asbestos removal company to arrange for the substance to be tested and if necessary taken out of your home before it endangers the health of you or your family.
What's the problem with asbestos?
You might think that if a material has been inside your home for many years without causing any ill effects, then it can be safely left there. In some instances, leaving asbestos alone is the best thing that you can do, but often, it makes sense to arrange for asbestos removal and replace it with a safer material before it can be damaged. The issue with asbestos is that if it becomes damaged, then all of the tiny fibres in the material will start to come loose and can easily be inhaled. Once inhaled, they can become the cause of a range of lung problems and cancers, although these will often not manifest for many years after exposure, making it far too late to do anything about the asbestos.
What does asbestos look like?
Correctly identifying asbestos is one of the biggest problems faced by homeowners. There are six types of asbestos that can look quite different from each other. Asbestos has been used in such a range of products that knowing where you will find it is almost impossible. Asbestos may have been used as an insulating material, but you will also find it in floor tiles, roofs, guttering and many other places that you might not expect. There are also a few materials that can look similar to asbestos but are entirely harmless. If you have any concerns, it is vital that you arrange for testing and then for an asbestos removal company to come and collect the material so that they can take it away and dispose of it safely somewhere that it no longer poses a risk to anyone.