Asbestos is a collection of silicate minerals that come in thin, fibrous crystals. Said minerals have a number of useful properties, which is why they used to see so much use. Unfortunately, it turned out that each fiber of asbestos consists of millions and millions of fibrils that can be released into their surroundings when disturbed, which can cause scarring of the lungs as well as a number of lung cancers when breathed in by unsuspecting individuals.
There are still numerous buildings out there that have asbestos-containing materials in them. Generally speaking, asbestos-containing materials aren’t considered to be dangerous unless they are releasing either asbestos dust or asbestos fibers into their surroundings where they can be ingested as well as breathed in by the people in those surroundings. When people suspect this to be the case, that is when asbestos testing comes in.
Why Is Asbestos Testing So Important?
First, asbestos testing is important because the health effects of asbestos are very, very serious. In fact, it is important to stress that there is no such thing as a safe level of exposure to asbestos because even a period of exposure that lasted no more than a few days has been known to cause mesothelioma in humans. However, the more that someone is exposed to asbestos, the higher their chances of getting some kind of asbestos-related problem, which should be further cause for interested individuals to get asbestos testing done as soon as possible whenever they have cause for suspicion.
Second, asbestos was used in a wide range of asbestos-containing materials, which in turn, were used in an even wider range of asbestos-containing products. As a result, there is no real way for interested individuals to tell whether something contains asbestos or not based on visual inspection, particularly if they are unfamiliar with all of the different asbestos-containing products out there. Due to this, the one way to be sure is to get suspected materials tested for the sake of peace of mind.
What Do You Need to Know About Asbestos Testing?
Interested individuals have a couple of options for asbestos testing. First, they can entrust it to a specialist. Second, they can do it on their own by using a DIY asbestos testing kit. Generally speaking, if someone doesn’t actually know what they are doing, they should entrust the process to a specialist. Yes, the services of a specialist will be expensive, but since they will be the one responsible for taking the sample as well as handling the rest of the asbestos testing process, that should minimize the potential for interested individuals to be affected in a negative manner.
In contrast, if interested individuals decided to go for a DIY asbestos testing kit, they are going to need to give some thought to their personal protection in the process. This means respirators with HEPA filters. Moreover, this means more protective equipment such as disposable coveralls, gloves, safety glasses, and boot covers because the threat of asbestos is very, very serious. On top of this, there are even recommendations that interested individuals should spray the suspected area with a mixture of about a pint’s worth of cool water with about a teaspoon’s worth of liquid dish-washing detergent to take what could be loose asbestos fibers out of the air, though it is uncertain how well this suggestion will actually work out in practice.
Whatever the case, getting a solid sample tends to be easiest because it involves cutting a piece off of the suspected material before putting it in the asbestos testing kit’s bag, sealing it, and then sending it off to be tested by the lab. Unfortunately, if that isn’t possible, interested individuals are going to have to collect the settled dust, whether by using some kind of utensil or by using a wet tissue to wipe off some of it. Unsurprisingly, a solid sample makes for a cheaper testing process, whereas a dust sample makes for a more expensive testing process because it requires more effort on the part of the lab technicians.
Besides this, it is worth noting that different asbestos testing kits can have different pricing structures. To be exact, some will see interested individuals paying everything upfront, whereas others will see interested individuals paying some of the cost upfront and then the rest for the lab testing. As such, it is worthwhile for interested individuals to make sure that they know what kind of payment they are expected to make.