Asbestos is a strong and incombustible fiber, one that is used in a vast number of products, more so in the past, and namely those involving fireproofing and insulation. The reason that asbestos is generally not used today is because of the various risks that have been found to be related to it. It is a natural mineral with unusual qualities, and although it is a good insulator against heat and electricity, there is various health risks associated with exposure to the fiber.
Asbestos poses health risks when fibers are in the air that people can breathe, and the asbestos fibers then lodge in the lungs and can even cause scarring that will most likely ultimately lead to severely impaired lung function in the person’s body. The first time there was any real expressed concern regarding asbestos was back in the 1800s, then even more pronounced in the late 1960s when workers who had been heavily exposed 20 to 30 years earlier began to show increased incidence of lung disease.
Really the only known way to determine whether or not there are levels of asbestos in the air is by conducting an asbestos analysis. If you are not sure whether products in your home contain asbestos then you are going to want to call in an experienced contractor who will be able to check around in your home and determine whether or not there is a problem. Unless you are specifically knowledgeable and experienced in this area you should not attempt to take care of the problem yourself.
The asbestos analysis will usually not take long, although it can often be a complex and expensive matter when it comes to actually removing any asbestos that is found. Again this should only be done by an experienced contractor, and when disturbing an asbestos product, maximum precautions need to be taken in order to ensure that all people in the area are going to be safeguarded and protected.
Once the asbestos analysis has been completed you are going to have to take precautions to protect yourself in the future, and namely you are going to want to reduce the air pressure in order to prevent asbestos fibers from escaping from the work area if it does happen to return. Make sure that you always dispose of all waste appropriate according to the specific guidelines of your provincial department of the environment, and always get a second opinion if you are ever not sure about something.