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by Wendy Stackhouse · April 03, 2013

Asbestos: 5 Questions to Ask Before You DIY

Take 5 and Stay Alive Image courtesy of the British Lung Foundation

In our second post this week in support of Global Asbestos Awareness Week, we would like to join with the British Lung Foundation in helping to prevent anyone being exposed to asbestos, even one time. Remember--there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos!

Our friends in the UK have some advice for everyone on avoiding asbestos when you are considering any DIY project in your home: Take 5 and Stay Alive

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1. What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of six minerals which separate into thin fibers and have heat, fire and acid resistant properties. The use of asbestos goes back at least 4500 years in Finland and was named by the Ancient Greeks. In the 6th Century, wealthy Persians would astound dinner guests, cleaning their asbestos napkins by throwing them in the fire. Charlemagne is believed to have owned a tablecloth made of asbestos. Famous explorer Marco Polo was reported to have been offered fireproof garments made of “wool from the mountains,” but were made from wool-like asbestos fibers. Read more…

2. Where and when was Asbestos used?

In the U.S., asbestos use began in 1858 and during the Industrial Revolution came into wide use in many fields. Asbestos has been used for such diverse products as: concrete and fireplace cement, pipe insulation, fireproof drywall, lawn furniture and heat and fire resistant gaskets. It was once used in the braking systems of automobiles. One brand of cigarettes even used asbestos in their filters in the 1950’s. Read more…

3. What does Asbestos look like?

Asbestos in a home or other building can look as many different ways as there are products made from it. View a Gallery of Asbestos Photos from the British Lung Foundation.

4. What if I find Asbestos in my home?

If possible, leave it alone. If you have to remove or disturb it, do not do it yourself. Even a tiny amount of asbestos fibers in the air are a danger to you and your family, even your neighborhood. There is no safe level of exposure to Asbestos. Read more…

5. Where can I get all the facts?

There are many resources to consult about asbestos including:

The British Lung Foundation

The US Environmental Protection Agency

The National Cancer Institute

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission

It is important to ask yourself what you might be getting into when tackling a DIY project now that winter has past. Take 5 and Stay Alive!

On Friday, we will tackle asbestos in the news or maybe even have a guest post! Stay tuned!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions. She welcomes your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!

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