You can buy asbestos test kits in any home store inexpensively. And as a matter of fact, they are relatively easy to use. But are they providing you with reliable results? Before we get into that question, let’s have a brief look at the material asbestos and why we still need to be mindful of the environment we are living in.
Asbestos occurs in nature. It is a fibrous and friable material. Friable means that it can be broken up very easily into smaller pieces with using only very little amount of pressure. On the other hand, asbestos has been used in the manufacturing process of a wide array of building and household products, because it was easily accessible, inexpensive to mine, and it happens to have superb thermal properties, which made it very popular using it as an insulator for decades. Further to that, it was used as a bi-product for many items, including floor tiles, roofing shingles, house siding, etc.
According to experts, asbestos products do not pose any harm as long as they remain undamaged. But a real problem can occur if they start to wear of or begin to break. A typical example is old asbestos roofing, where the shingles start to crack or little pieces are breaking off. That’s when the toxic asbestos fibers get airborne and anybody in close proximity might inhale the microscopically small particles. This can result in severe and fatal diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Therefore, if you are a concerned homeowner, who either knows that he lives in a building where asbestos products were used, or even just speculates that there might be asbestos containing materials in his living environment, you should consider having an asbestos test done to get clarity on what you are dealing with. I personally would strongly recommend not using asbestos test kits, but much rather hiring a licensed asbestos testing company. Yes, that will be more expensive; however, I have yet to see a ‘do-it-yourself’ kit that actually lets you test for asbestos. Because all the testing kits I have seen so far, consisted of little containers and spatulas to gather samples. But none of them would actually give you a tool to test the samples on asbestos. In other words, you still have to send the samples to a specialized asbestos testing lab to get the actual evaluation done. And this is by far the most expensive part in the whole process.
Instead of doing the testing yourself with ineffective asbestos test kits, I would much rather hire a professional to get the job done faster, safer and with the guarantee to get a reliable result.