Identifying Asbestos: Signs and Symptoms in Buildings 2024

People who have never heard of asbestos, or at least have never stumbled upon it, won’t be able to easily identify it. In fact, it can actually be extremely challenging to recognize it. Maybe you can have some suspicions when it comes to this, however, in order to be one hundred percent sure it is, you would need to send the samples to the laboratory. 

Is it something that anyone can do? Generally speaking, yes, everyone can do this, however, experts suggest that it would be much smarter to leave it all up to professionals, because, after all, they are way more qualified and seasoned as far as this is concerned. 

Now, if you are generally interested in this topic and you would really like to know how to spot it, then just take a look at these tips and tricks below, because they will tell you what you should focus on.

asbestos home

Does It Have Any Particular Smell?

This is a very smart question, indeed. Namely, since it was previously concluded that it’s not so simple to spot it, then can you rely on your sense of smell in these instances? There are a plethora of detrimental substances that have a specific smell that helps you identify them.

That’s precisely the case with a gas leak. That’s something that you cannot see, however, you can most definitely smell it. Now, let’s go back to asbestos. Unfortunately, we have to disappoint you.

The answer is no, you cannot detect it by relying on your smell, it’s simply because it doesn’t have any. Even if you step into a building or a house that’s almost drowning in it, you still won’t be able to detect it.

You Can Check Out The Date

This doesn’t refer to the buildings, but to any other material that may seem suspicious to you. For starters, you should take a look at the date to see whether you are at any risk as far as this is concerned.

Generally speaking, buildings that were constructed between the 1940s and 1980s most likely contain asbestos materials. Although asbestos was almost completely destroyed over forty years ago, it still doesn’t mean that today, you cannot stumble upon a building that doesn’t contain it.

It’s highly unlikely, however, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t impossible. Buildings that were built less than thirty years ago probably do not have it at all. Speaking of asbestos, if you think that someone exposed you to it and it harmed you in any way, then legal gurus at Frost Law Firm, PC advise you to immediately seek help from an attorney. How can he/she help you in these instances?

Namely, there are a lot of lawyers who are perfectly familiar with it, and the consequences a person can have if exposed (such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, and many others), and who are going to be there for you if you decide to file a lawsuit against a party that recklessly exposed you to it.

Pay Attention To The Joints

If you pay close attention to the building, on the outside, you will notice that the sheets are probably connected to the aluminum runners. These runners were embedded in the smaller nails with no points near the end.

That’s something that you will notice on the outside. When it comes to the inside, asbestos sheets were held together either with wooden runners or with plastic runners in the exact same way.

If that’s the case, then this may indicate that the building was built utilizing different asbestos materials. During this process, it would be recommended to thoroughly investigate any other adhesives, due to the fact that they most likely have asbestos as well.

Don’t Forget To Take A Look At Exterior Building Materials

Back in the day, asbestos was utilized to develop various exterior materials. The most common materials that contain it are siding and roofing shingles, which can frequently release fiber into the air if they are broken.

Apart from these two, asbestos was also added to the cement that was employed on the exterior of the structure in order to properly insulate it. Keep in mind that a lot of older cement board products oftentimes are filled with it too.

But what does it look like? It resembles a thin piece of concrete that contains fiber and it was typically used as corrugated roofing, siding, and soffit material.

And Then There Are Interior Panels

In case you didn’t know, ceilings, floors, and walls were frequently developed by using materials that were packed with asbestos. Therefore, if you want to make sure that everything is okay when it comes to this then you should check to see if there is any oil stuff on the floor tiles.

This will indicate that they most likely contain asbestos which was bound with asphalt. Furthermore, decorative walls, along with vinyl tiles often have asbestos too. Back in the day, when asbestos was considered detrimental, it was utilized for ceilings above drywall and in ceiling tiles.

This type of asbestos is also known as blow-in asbestos and it usually looks either off-white or gray and has fiber in it. 

Finishing Materials & Appliances Should Also Be Investigated

asbestos removal

Even though it was concluded that asbestos can be found in construction materials, sadly, these are not the only places where you can uncover it. Namely, it was employed in various manufactured pieces as well. 

A lot of these materials can be seen in almost any system in the space you live in, and the most common examples of it include the following:

  • Flues
  • Ductwork
  • Insulation 
  • Eaves
  • Cowls
  • Fireproof materials
  • Pipes
  • Carpet underlay
  • Windows putty
  • Sealers and caulking

How Much Exposure To It Can Be Detrimental?

You cannot easily get sick from it. This happens only to people who are constantly exposed to it. However, since it’s not impossible if you notice any symptoms of exposure, then be sure to go to the doctor straight away.

We cannot stress enough how essential it is to identify the signs of asbestos as quickly as possible to avoid any potential issues that could harm your well-being. Therefore, if you have any doubts about it, then for starters, pay attention to this above-mentioned information.

For additional insight, head over to Gator Rated’s blog for additional information.