Home Asbestos Testing
The commercial form of asbestos testing can be extremely expensive. And, many asbestos testing kits are retailed, but the accuracy of their results is arguable. Therefore, you may want to try out some of these home-based asbestos testing methods yourself.
Asbestos is dangerous, and inhaling the dust can cause lung cancer and disease. Areas that are known to have high traces of asbestos include the wall and floor tiling, and roofing material like shingles and siding. However, these surfaces generally don’t release asbestos dust unless they are moved or harmed. Therefore, you shouldn’t disturb such surfaces until you receive the test results.
However, if handling such surfaces is unavoidable, it is advisable to follow some precautions. If you are planning to clean these surfaces, remember to use the appropriate protective gear. Such gear can be rented from hardware supply stores. If someone exhibits initial signs of asbestos inhalation, like labored breathing or sudden bouts of coughing, immediately seek medical help.
Asbestos Testing Basics
Asbestos testing is generally recommended for every type of building. However, if you have a house that is older than a decade, testing for asbestos becomes critical. This is because earlier, asbestos was extensively used as a building material, as its harmful effects weren’t known. Even now, asbestos used for heat and electrical insulation is still widespread.
The most assured manner of asbestos testing is to collect a sample and send it across to a government-authorized testing center. Many do-it-yourself kits are sold for collecting the samples, too, but these are an unnecessary expenditure. You can collect a testing sample yourself by using the following information.
Step 1 — Identifying Potential Asbestos Contamination
There are many sources of asbestos contamination besides the usual suspects like tiled surfaces and aged crawlspaces. Some commonly neglected areas that have a high probability of asbestos contamination include rooms with extensive duct work, rooms containing radiator and heating systems, and areas with traditional wiring circuits.
Step 2 — Getting Prepared for Misting
Prepare yourself with a face mask and plastic gloves. You shouldn’t vacuum or clean the suspected area before testing for asbestos. Ideally, homeowners should be asked to stay away from the designated area for at least two days before the testing. Always turn-off the ventilation and heating or cooling appliances before collecting the sample. Such appliances have the tendency to suck away the dust particles.
Spread a new or washed plastic sheet on the floor. Then, fill a spraying or misting bottle with water.
Step 3 — Misting the Area
Spray the area repeatedly, ensuring that the mist is dispelled in every part of the room. The presence of moisture in the air ensures that the dust is no longer suspended and it begins to settle on the plastic sheet. Using the scissors, cut out a small section of the plastic sheet. This is your testing sample.
Step 4 — Place Sample in a Bag
Place this sample in a plastic bag and label it with your ID number and the date and time of collecting the sample.
Step 5 — Send the Sample
Finally, Send the sample to an EPA-accredited, asbestos-testing laboratory. You should steer clear of the area until you have your results. If the results come back positive, you can get a cost-estimate for removal.