Home Improvement

How Dangerous Are Asbestos?

Did you know asbestos can pose a serious health hazard to you and your family? Though you might not be aware, it might be silently lurking in the environment and it can slowly lodge itself in your organs. If you do not take remediation measures within the proper time. Asbestos is a common component of many building materials. Besides this, asbestos can be found in the ceiling tiles, floor tiles, insulation, cement siding, and many other building materials and could be lurking nearby your home premises or  If you are unsure of this danger lurking in the air around you, you should not delay performing an asbestos testing.

This is why s the uses of asbestos have been banned in the U.S. but some uses still continue to be legal. However, some other countries have not even banned it yet.

Asbestos is harmless if it remains inside the material it is present in. But over a period of time, the materials wear down with age and there is a risk that asbestos will pollute the air around those materials. If there are renovations and demolitions, there are chances that asbestos can enter the air and pose a serious health hazard to people in and around that building structure.

How can it affect humans?


If humans unknowingly breathe asbestos in their lungs, then the harmful particles of asbestos will get lodged in the lungs over a period of time. If the exposure is prolonged and excessive, it can even lead to fibrotic lung disease. Not only this, but low-level exposure to asbestos can also lead to disastrous lung cancer and mesothelioma, and these deadly diseases can kill thousands of people.

Asbestos testing also called as the asbestos survey can help you deliver accurate info of whether your surroundings are clear of the silent and deadly killer or it is filled up with the harmful ones and this is how the occupants can remain safe this way. The US EPA requires that before every renovation and demolition, and asbestos testing should be conducted that can help in measuring the amount of asbestos present in and around any particular area so that it can be treated accordingly. It is recommended that the survey and inspection both be conducted for the old buildings where there are chances that the asbestos could have entered the air and are still present. If the building materials have been damaged or have withered down, there are certain possibilities that the asbestos might have reached the air around it.

Types of asbestos testing methods:

Currently, there are two types of asbestos  testing methods available:

  • Phase-contrast microscopy (PCM)
  • Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)

While both the tests are reliable, the TEM is more accurate due to the size of the fibers it can detect.


Which one’s more effective in Asbestos testing? PCM or TEM?

Let us now see how PCM can detect the fibers around the building materials:

At first, a pump is used to draw an air sample through a filter. After that, a slice of the filter is taken and examined under the microscope for the evidence of fibers. This process is quick and inexpensive and identifies the fibers in the air, but it doesn’t detect very small fibers. In addition, it cannot distinguish asbestos fibers from other fibers such as fiberglass. Therefore, it helps you get accurate info about the availability of the fibers, but somehow, you can’t be certain whether the fibers found are really asbestos or something else.

Alternatively, with the asbestos testing of TEM, the samples are sent to the lab where the air sample is bombarded with electrons inside a giant microscope. This allows the microscopist to distinguish between asbestos and other fibers very minutely. Though it is more expensive it can detect even minuscule levels of the fibers in the air.

On the variations of asbestos testing processes available, PCM is selected for its speed and cost-effectiveness, while TEM is done towards the end when you need to be certain that it is asbestos that is present in the air and remedial measures need to be taken to curb the menace.

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