WINDSOR HEIGHTS – Left in place, asbestos is a relatively stable and safe mineral commonly used in more than 3,000 home construction products.
However, when people remove or disturb asbestos-containing products, small fibers become airborne and may stay in the air. If inhaled, the fibers can cause disease or cancer more than 20 years after the exposure.
July is Asbestos Awareness Month in Iowa. The Iowa DNR has tips and information that can increase safety for people who are remodeling their homes.
“The key is to be aware of how many products are likely to contain asbestos fibers as you plan your remodeling project,” said Brian Hutchins, DNR air quality supervisor. “Ceiling tiles, insulated pipe wrappings, floor tiles and vermiculite attic insulation are some of the common products that have asbestos in them.
“If you suspect that asbestos-containing products are present, it’s smart to consult a professional contractor who is experienced in asbestos removal,” he added.
DNR air quality regulations for asbestos removal do not apply to a single family residence, but Hutchins says having an experienced contractor do the work can prevent future health issues and provide peace of mind for the homeowner.
More information about products that contain asbestos can be found on the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/InsideDNR/RegulatoryAir/Asbestos.aspx and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website at www2.epa.gov/asbestos.
Owners and operators of commercial buildings, including places such as schools, churches and hospitals, are required to follow state and federal regulations for asbestos removal and worker safety during remodeling and demolition projects.