Did you know that Ambler, PA, was one of the first towns in America to be built around the production of asbestos products? Back in the late 1800s, people were not aware of the dangers associated with asbestos-containing products and the creation of shingles, millboard, tiles, lumber, and small items were a tremendous source of income for the area. The story is a little different today as mesothelioma from asbestos exposure has changed the entire industry.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that’s made up of soft, flexible fibers. These fibers are what make asbestos resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion, and in part, what makes asbestos insulation so effective. It’s also what made asbestos products like cloth, paper, cement, tile, and flooring seem like a good idea.
The soft fibers, however, are easy to inhale and can become trapped inside the body, and we have no way of removing those particles once they are inside us. That means that they will continue to accumulate with every exposure, and over many years, asbestos can cause a range of problems, including inflammation, scarring, and cancer called mesothelioma.
Once a patient has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, their life expectancy is only about one year with proper treatment. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pains, fatigue, and respiratory complications. Because of these dangers, many people want to learn how to identify asbestos products and how to safely remove them once identified.
History of Asbestos in Ambler, PA
Before we answer important questions such as how to identify asbestos floor tiles or what asbestos insulation looks like, it’s important to understand how we got here. The first asbestos textile plant was founded in Ambler in 1896, but the dangers of the mineral were not widely understood until the 1970s. Despite this knowledge, the production of asbestos-containing products continued in Ambler until the late 1980s and only halted because companies were suffering financial damage from a surge in lawsuits.
In 2011, a study confirmed that the rate of cancers related to asbestos among the people of Ambler was three times higher than the average rate for the state. It was also estimated that up to 1.5 million cubic yards of waste containing asbestos was dumped in the city in the years before 1974. That’s right, the White Mountains of Ambler, which children played on, were mountains of cancer-causing poison. The workers in the textile plant suffered the most as they were given no safety gear or any warnings about the long-term risks associated with their jobs.
How to Identify Asbestos-Containing Products
If you are concerned about asbestos or other dangers in your PA home or workplace, it helps to know that older buildings tend to have a higher chance of containing these products, and there is a risk for buildings that were renovated before the 1980s as well. The most common items that homeowners or commercial property owners should be on the lookout for include tiles, insulation, and other flooring materials. Asbestos is also commonly used in roofing materials, plumbing, siding, and fiber cement sheets.
If you want to know how to identify asbestos insulation, what asbestos tiles look like, or how to identify asbestos flooring in your Montgomery County property, you may not have much luck, as, on the surface, most of these products look the same as those that do not contain asbestos. Asbestos is naturally white, brown, or blue, so insulation in these colors is more likely than the more recognized pink colors, but it’s not a sure thing. Asbestos is also the most dangerous when it’s airborne, so disturbing products that you think may contain asbestos should be avoided.
In other words, the best way to identify asbestos is through professional testing.
Asbestos Tile Identification
The best way to identify asbestos-containing products is to turn to Google and search for “asbestos testing near me.” That way, you can explain your concerns to a professional who will advise you on the safest way to get your materials tested. Remember, it can be extremely dangerous to disturb these products, so it’s not always recommended to simply collect a sample yourself and bring it into a testing facility. If you know that a product in your home or building contains asbestos, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Instead, contact an asbestos removal specialist who will ensure not only your safety but also the safety of the surrounding area.
How to Check for Asbestos in Your PA Rental
Here at Bay Property Management Group Montgomery County, we are always on the lookout for asbestos tile or insulation when we conduct property assessments, move-out inspections, and tenant-occupied inspections. We never want our tenants or our crew to be in danger from these products. Rest assured, you can feel safe when choosing one of our managed properties, knowing we’re working hard to identify and remove asbestos whenever it is discovered. For more information or questions about our properties, contact one of our BMG team members today!