Looking at the Dangers of Asbestos Contamination Due to Flooding

17 November 2015
 Categories: Environmental, Blog

Many homes still around today were constructed using materials that contained the carcinogen asbestos. Asbestos can be found in insulation, drywall and cement. Many homes undergo asbestos inspections before being sold because the danger it poses as a cancer-causing agent. However, many homes that are damaged during floods can mean asbestos getting into creeks, lakes and oceans, not to mention community water supplies. Learn how you can avoid the dangers of asbestos exposure if your home has been damaged by flood waters.

Contained and Non-Contained Asbestos Dangers

Materials like drywall that contain asbestos are considered safe as long as they remain dry and intact. However, during a flood, these materials may become broken apart, causing their asbestos content to become a serious health hazard. If your home has suffered serious damage from a flood and you know the materials in it contained asbestos, contacting professional asbestos removal professionals to help is extremely important for you to avoid exposure. Homes built before 1975 are more likely to have materials containing asbestos. Health issues like mesothelioma lung cancer are caused by asbestos inhalation, but usually do not show up until a few years after asbestos are inhaled.

Containing Damaged Materials Containing Asbestos Is Important

Many homeowners need to remove personal property from their flood damaged homes before professionals arrive to clean up materials that may contain asbestos. For this reason, spreading thick plastic sheets or tarps over damaged materials like drywall and insulation is recommended. While covering damaged materials, make sure you always wear a protective face mask to prevent the inhalation of asbestos particles. Never start picking through your flood damaged home until you are certain you have covered damaged materials that could contain asbestos.

Other Dangers of Asbestos and Flooded Homes to Consider

Walking in flood waters standing in your home is dangerous for several reasons, one of the greatest being the risk of disease caused by bacteria usually present in dirty flood waters. However, if the water you walk in with exposed skin is polluted with asbestos, like from wet insulation, particles of asbestos could stick to your clothing and later be inhaled when you change your clothing. While the risk of asbestos particles entering your body through skin pores is small, the chances of the particles remaining on your clothing until you change are high. Always wear high rubber boots when entering the areas of your home that have been damaged by flood water and leave on your protective mask when taking off the clothing you wore during cleanup.

The stress and loss you experience when your home is flooded is enough to handle without medical issues caused by it as well. Always take every precaution before cleaning up your home after a flood to avoid getting sick. If you suspect you home may have materials using asbestos, contact a local asbestos inspection professional, such as Hutzel & Associates, Inc, to discuss your concerns.