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Protect your family from asbestos exposure in the home

It's a known fact that many older homes were made from asbestos-containing materials. This sounds scarier than it actually is, however.

Asbestos poses the most dangers when it is disturbed or damaged. There is practically no risk of contamination when the material is left alone and remains in good condition.

But there are circumstances when asbestos-containing materials could release lethal fibers into the air, and they include when the materials are:

-- Damaged

-- Disturbed

-- Repaired

-- Improperly removed

-- Sawed and sanded

-- Torn or cut

-- Scraped

-- Drilled

It's important to visually inspect the asbestos-laden materials for any signs of damage, as this can cause fibers to circulate through the air and be breathed into your or your family member's lungs.

If, for instance, there is some damaged asbestos material in an attic, the safest course of action may just be to leave it alone and restrict access to the attic. Attempting to remove the material could actually release more fibers than just leaving it undisturbed.

If you plan a major renovation that will involve disturbing the asbestos, it is vital to contract with those in construction who are qualified to remove asbestos.

Homeowners in Madison County should never attempt to vacuum up debris from asbestos or sweep or dust the area, as this only stirs up the fibers and releases them into the air.

If you work around asbestos, make sure that you don't track any fibers into your home on your shoes. If you inadvertently walk through a room wearing shoes that potentially contain asbestos material, immediately take off the footwear and damp mop the floor to remove any remaining fibers.

Exposure to asbestos while on the job can lead to secondary exposures for family members. Speak to an asbestos legal professional if you suspect that a secondary exposure has affected your family members.

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency, "Protect Your Family," accessed Feb. 05, 2016

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