Home History Lesson: Asbestos
How The "Old Ways" Were Wrong
The world and its science changes all the time so of course practices become outdated. Home construction is no different, building codes change all the time! At some point asbestos was used in home construction and now that we know it's harmful to our health is has been removed, but lets take a look into how that changed.
Home History Lesson
Where Does It Come From-
Asbestos is a natural mineral that is found all across the world. One of the earliest known uses is in 2000/3000 B.C by ancient Egyptians who used it in the enbalming process. It is apparent that its fire proofingproperties were the main use even back then.
Why Did They Use It-
People in history have used it in burial services, woven it into napkins and clothing, weapons of war, paper money and more! Although it was found in these, it did not become a booming industry till the late 1800s.
When Did They Realize-
Unfortunately people have known for quite some time that asbestos is harmful to our health. The greek geographer Strabo noted a “sickness of the lungs” in slaves who wove asbestos into cloth. It is also how early forms of respirators were created, slave miners of the time would use the bladder of goats as a sort of mask to protect their lungs.
How Did It Become So Widely Used-
Asbestos’ resistance to chemicals, heat, water and electricity made it an excellent insulator for the steam engines, turbines, boilers, ovens and electrical generators that powered the Industrial Revolution. It was heavily mined and this time began it's long use in the U.S.
How Is It Now?-
In the U.S asbestos is still found in homes built before 1970, once the public realized how dangerous it was, it's use in homes stopped. In 2003 it became banned by 17 countries. In the U.S it is still used in some vehicle parts like gaskets. Click here to find out more if you have an older home.
How Do We Remove It-
If you're building has hidden asbestos it is an immediate concern, you should NEVERtry to remove it yourself. We very strictly wear all Personal Protective Equipment and follow all health guidelines of removal and disposal. We also make sure the air is clean and it is no longer being inhaled by the residents.
Asbestos is a carcinogen and can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma!
(P.S) If you are looking at new homes make sure your inspector does a thorough search for asbestos and all materials used to make flooring and foundation of home are noted.