Even though you think you might know your own house quite well, your attic might be hiding a dark secret from you.
Asbestos is a material that was widely used in the construction of buildings from the 1930s up until the 1980s, when it started to decline in use due to known health hazards. If your home is an older one, it could be one that still contains this hazardous substance to insulate its structure.
Does your attic insulation have asbestos in it? Read on to learn more about this building material and how you can tell if you have any in your house.
What is Asbestos?
Many people will talk about asbestos, but not as many people know exactly what it is. Most know it is a material that was used in the construction of buildings and that there are health hazards associated with it, but let’s examine the material and learn more about it.
Asbestos is the name for six naturally occurring minerals. These minerals are found as bundles of fibres that can be separated into thin, durable threads for use in commercial and industrial applications. These threads are resistant to fire, heat, and chemicals, and they do not conduct electricity at all. These features make asbestos a very popular material to use in a wide range of industries. Other asbestos-like materials, such as erionite, are naturally found in the environment.
The Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos exposure occurs when products containing asbestos are disturbed. Tiny asbestos particles are released into the air and may be breathed in – it’s critical to your health to wear a respirator mask when working with asbestos.
When breathed in, these particles may get trapped in your lungs and remain there for a long time – maybe even the rest of your life. Over time, these fibres accumulate, causing scarring and inflammation, affecting your breathing.
Asbestos exposure has also been linked to a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma. There is also some evidence that asbestos exposure leads to an increased risk of cancers of the stomach, pharynx, and colorectum.
Does Your Insulation Have Asbestos in It?
How do you detect the presence of this substance? Well, the good news is that most modern homes in Winnipeg no longer contain any asbestos. Asbestos was largely phased out of common usage, including attic insulation, by 1990, though, surprisingly, it was not completely banned for use in Canada until 2018, much later than many people assume.
If your Winnipeg home was built after 1990, it is very unlikely to contain asbestos. However, if you do suspect there is asbestos in your attic insulation, there are a few things you can look out for.
Texture – Insulation that contains asbestos tends to be heat-treated, giving it an accordion-style texture or small pebbles.
Colour – A lot of material that contains asbestos will have a grey-brown or silver-gold colour to it. Some variations have a reflective surface. Other types resemble kitty litter.
So, You Have Asbestos. Now What?
If you find signs of asbestos in your attic insulation, do not disturb the material. You can decide to leave it as is or have it replaced.
Many certified abatement companies in Winnipeg can complete the removal of asbestos-containing insulation. If you decide to proceed with such a project, Warm Home can re-insulate your home with brand-new insulation that keeps your home well-insulated against Winnipeg’s harsh winters and blistering summers. Give us a call today to request a quote.