How to identify Asbestos: Is The Answer Asbestos Testing?

Asbestos is widely known as the material abundant in construction sites and demolition areas. It can cause cancer, mesothelioma, and a disease named after it: asbestosis. But harrowing news came out just last month in Queensland, where this lethal material was found in several state schools. This was discovered after air conditioning installation projects were done in the buildings. Now, the realisation dawns upon many Australian parents and families: it’s closer to our children than we thought.

Now, a new light has been shed on the issue. What is to be done about this material since it’s not just narrowed down into one site and scenario? One way to avoid exposure is to make sure your surroundings aren’t littered with this substance, and that can be through personally identifying it, or testing it in a professional lab.

What Is Asbestos?

For those missing some context, here is a brief overview of this by-product. Asbestos is a group of mineral fibers (6 in total) that are known for their fire and chemical resistance. Ironically, this group of minerals that have caused a lot of serious diseases can be recycled and reused into non-toxic, practical materials, such as porcelain and glass. Most of the asbestos removed by your local company in Newcastle does this for all their gathered substances.

Where Is It Found?

Surprisingly, you can find this material almost everywhere, in everything. For example, when you’re roofing your house, this can be located in cement and shingles. As for electricity and wirings, the casing of said wires has it. Floor tiles and adhesives, as well as furnace pipes and ducts also have asbestos found in them.

Why Is It Harmful?

These fibers are known to cause lung cancer due to their carcinogenic nature. However, other equally severe diseases root in asbestos exposure. One of them is Mesothelioma, a type of cancer that develops in the outer layers of major organs. In this case, mesothelioma originates in one or both lungs. 

Another is asbestosis. It is the scarring of the inner walls of the lungs due to the abrasive nature of these fibers. It is chronic, causing shortness of breath, wheezing, consistent coughing, and in severe cases, inflammation of the alveolus.

Is Testing The Answer?

One way to know if your area can potentially contain these fibers is by assessing the situation. Is there construction going on? Are there a lot of dust and materials involved? If you answered yes to both, then there is a big possibility that there are microscopic fibers around to harm your respiratory system.

However, to know exactly if your area contains these fibers, send a material sample to a professional laboratory, and there, experts will search for the presence of these fibers. They use transmission electron microscopy, a practice that uses microscopes with the ability to produce highly magnified images.
Thus, the answer to the question is yes. Asbestos testing is the answer to identifying asbestos in your home or area, as it is accurate and rarely false positive.