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EPA’s do’s and don’ts for asbestos in the home

The first piece of advice the Environmental Protection Agency gives if you believe you have asbestos in your home is: don’t panic.

If the material that contains asbestos is in good condition and isn’t damaged or disturbed, it isn’t likely to pose a health risk. In those cases, the EPA recommends that you leave the material alone.

But those materials can present a problem if they’re disturbed, damaged, removed improperly, repaired, cut, torn, sanded, sawed, drilled, or worn down too much. In those circumstances, they can release fibers.

Breathing in asbestos particles is a major risk factor for mesothelioma — a cancer of the tissue lining the chest and abdominal cavity.

The EPA has released the following list of “do’s and don’ts” for homeowners who suspect they may have asbestos in their homes.

  • Do leave undamaged materials alone if they contain asbestos.
  • Do keep activities to a minimum in any areas where damaged material that may contain asbestos is present.
  • Do take precautions to avoid damaging asbestos-containing material.
  • Do have any removal, repair and sampling done by trained and accredited asbestos professionals.
  • Don’t dust, sweep, or vacuum debris if you believe it may contain asbestos.
  • Don’t saw, sand, scrape, or drill holes in materials with asbestos.
  • Don’t use abrasive pads or brushes or power strippers on asbestos flooring.
  • Don’t sand or try to level asbestos flooring or its backing.
  • Don’t track material that might contain asbestos through the house. If it does happen, clean the area with a wet mop. Call an asbestos professional if the material is from a damaged area or if a large area must be cleaned.

If you or a loved one have contracted mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, contact Lopez McHugh for a free consultation.

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