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The USA Going Green

Going Green with Asbestos Abatement

As more Americans are becoming aware of sustainability and protecting the environment, more people are finding new ways to “go green.” If you live in an old home or own an old building and are trying to make it more energy efficient, safe and sustainable, looking at replacing asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) is probably a good idea. Many old homes and buildings contain asbestos, a known carcinogen and toxic material that has been proven to cause serious diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Sadly, the survival rate of mesothelioma cancer is very low and the prognosis is more promising when the disease is discovered early on.

Mesothelioma Center is a naturally occurring mineral that is fire-resistant, a poor conductor of electricity, durable and lightweight. These qualities make it ideal for use in building materials. However, it can break easily into microscopic particles that are easily swallowed or breathed in depending upon the type of product it is added to (and whether the product has been damaged). With repeated exposure, these fibers can accumulate and become lodged in the lungs, abdomen and heart.

Choosing to abate (remove) asbestos insulation and replace it with more sustainable and eco-friendly options will not only make your home or building more green, it will also make it safer.

Insulation

This is one of the more common uses of asbestos-containing materials. It is used to insulate roofs, walls, water pipes and heaters. Fortunately, there are a variety of eco-friendly insulation alternatives.

  • Batt or Blanket Insulation - This type of insulation comes in rolls. Fiberglass is usually used, but you can also find this type of insulation made from wool or cotton. You can also find blanket insulation made from recycled denim!
  • Spray-in Foam - Spray-on insulation made from asbestos is one of the most dangerous insulation products. Eco-friendly, spray-in foam made from soy provides all the benefits of traditional foam without harmful asbestos or chemicals.
  • Cellulose - Cellulose is loose-fill insulation made from natural, chemical-treated newsprint which is fire-resistant.
  • Acoustical Panels - Asbestos was also used in these panels to absorb noise. You can now buy panels made with recycled cotton fiber that is treated with non-toxic chemicals to resist mold, bacteria and fungi.

Roofing Materials

Asbestos was also commonly used in roof shingles and roofing cement. Some non-asbestos roofing options include:

  • Metal - Durable, recycled and energy efficient.
  • Clay - Long-lasting and energy efficient.
  • Slate - Recyclable and durable.

Some materials cost less than others, so it is best to do a proper price comparison. While some of these materials may cost more to install, they usually have a long lifespan. Plus, cutting down on toxic asbestos exposure is well worth the cost of materials. Before any work is done, you should have the structure inspected by a professional. Remember, asbestos abatement should only be performed by a licensed, trained professional.

Sources: Bonded Logic, Inc. (2012).

Prunier, S. (2008). Eco-Friendly Roofing Materials.

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