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Asbestos Exposure Checklist

Keep these points in mind when dealing with potential asbestos exposure:

  1. You can’t tell whether something contains asbestos by looking it. Instead, a professional should take a sample of the material and have it analyzed. Do not attempt to take samples yourself. Doing so will increase your risk of inhaling dangerous fibers.
  2. Asbestos material that is in good condition should be left alone. If the material is disturbed or damaged, harmful fibers will be released. The materials should be checked periodically for signs of deterioration.
  3. If you are going to be remodeling or changing your home in a way that may disturb the material, you should a hire a qualified contractor to remove or seal off the material.
  4. Repairs, both major and minor, should be performed by a professional who has been trained in safely handing asbestos. Handling a repair yourself, no matter how minor, exposes you to risk of fiber inhalation.
  5. If you decide to have the material removed, use only a professionally trained contractor with experience in asbestos removal. Improper removal can result in increased risk to you and your family.
  6. Keep in mind that removal is likely to be complex, expensive, and pose a large risk of fiber release. Thus, smaller strategies, such as keeping material undisturbed, should be used first. Removal is most appropriate before making a major renovation or after extensive damage of asbestos material.
  7. Smaller items that contain asbestos (such as heat resistant fabrics used in kitchen gloves and iron board covers) should be discarded, especially if they are worn out or damaged. Before discarding these items, check with your local health or environmental agency to learn about proper disposal procedure.
  8. If asbestos material in your home is damaged, seal off the area so pets and children can’t access it. Do not disturb the material further. Consult an asbestos professional for an assessment. To prevent a conflict of interest, it may be better to use one firm for a consultation and another for any removal needed.