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The Air Quality Blog by Rabbit Air
What Asbestos Looks Like

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All homeowners fear asbestos might be lurking in their home. While only an expert can identify and remove asbestos, you can still boost air quality in your home with a purifier.

Doing Asbestos We Can

Asbestos is a word that strikes fear into the hearts of homeowners everywhere. Once a common material used in construction, the discovery of severe negative health impacts led to the banning of asbestos in all new buildings. However, many structures built before the ban still contain asbestos. It’s important that homeowners know how to identify the hazardous substance, and how best to get rid of it.

Why Was Asbestos Used?

Asbestos, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is a mineral fiber that occurs naturally in the earth. Its long, crystalline shape makes it flexible, allowing it to stretch without breaking. This, along with the fact that it is an extremely effective flame retardant, is what made asbestos a popular construction material.

Asbestos can be found in old building materials, like roofing shingles, wall insulation, vinyl floor tiles, wrapped around pipes as insulation, or in heat-resistant fabrics. According to Asbestos Watch, the substance is “usually entrained in some kind of substrate material, masking their normal appearance.”

Understanding the Risks

By the late 1970s, people began to realize that their favorite building material might be extremely dangerous, even deadly. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the EPA, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer all identified asbestos as a carcinogen, which can cause cancer in anyone exposed to it.

According to the National Cancer Institute, contact with asbestos can increase your risk for lung cancer and mesothelioma, “a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen.”

The EPA banned all new uses for asbestos in the late 1980s, but applications developed before that regulation are still permitted. All schools, however, are required to test for and remove asbestos from their buildings.

What Does Asbestos Look like?

Asbestorama/flickr

The tricky thing about identifying asbestos is that you can’t always tell what it is by looking at it. Before it’s used in building materials, asbestos is often described as looking like “animal fur” or fuzz because of its long fibers. While commonly thought to be white, it can also be found in shades of brown or blue.

When used in construction, asbestos is typically mixed in with other materials like cement, making it harder to identify. It’s indistinguishable from fiberglass insulation, which is not dangerous to human health.

And where does one even start to look? Asbestos can be hiding anywhere -- the only way to know for sure if your home is polluted is to get it tested and, if necessary, have the asbestos removed by professionals.

What Should You Do?

Asbestos isn’t the only dangerous substance that might be lurking in your living space, and while asbestos can only be identified and removed by a professional, there are other ways to decontaminate your air and protect your home. Installing a quality air purifier will ensure your family has clean, toxin-free air to breathe.

Rabbit Air air purifiers will improve your quality of life by improving your air. With their sleek and modern design, you won’t have to worry about your purifier being an eyesore in your home. Plus, Rabbit Air’s 24/7 support line provides comprehensive assistance at all times. Don’t leave your family’s health to chance.

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