Pools and Asbestos: The Dangers and What You Can Do About It
As a homeowner, you want what’s best for your family. That includes ensuring the safety of your pool and maintaining it to protect your investment. Part of pool maintenance includes regularly checking for and repairing any damage, which can sometimes involve asbestos. While asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, it can be dangerous if inhaled, and you should take care when working with it.
Summer is the perfect time to take care of your pool maintenance, but it’s important to be aware of the dangers of asbestos before you get started. Although asbestos is no longer used in new construction, it’s still present in many older homes and buildings. When disturbed, asbestos fibres can be released into the air and inhaled, which can lead to serious health problems.
Below are a few of the many dangers of asbestos and how to safely handle it during your pool maintenance routine.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once widely used in a variety of applications because of its durability and resistance to fire and heat. It was commonly used in building materials like insulation, flooring, and shingles. Unfortunately, we now know that when asbestos fibres are inhaled, they can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other respiratory diseases.
If you suspect that your home or pool area may contain asbestos, it’s important not to try to remove it yourself. Asbestos removal should only be performed by a trained professional who has the proper equipment to do the job safely. In most cases, the best course of action is to leave asbestos undisturbed, have routine asbestos testing done, and simply avoid exposure to it.
Common Sources of Asbestos in Homes
There are many common sources of asbestos in homes, particularly older homes. If you’re planning on doing any home renovations this summer, be sure to have a certified asbestos inspector check for it before you begin any work. Some common sources of asbestos include:
- Insulation around pipes (known as lagging)
- Boiler insulation
- Floor tiles
- Ceiling tiles
- Joint compound used for finishing drywall joints
- Spray-on fireproofing material
Asbestos Exposure Risks During Pool Maintenance
Even if you’re not planning on doing any home renovations this summer, there’s still a risk of exposure to asbestos during pool maintenance. In particular, swimming pool owners should be aware of two common sources of asbestos exposure during pool season: vermiculite insulation and outdoor grills.
Vermiculite insulation was commonly used around swimming pools and saunas until the early 1990s when it was discovered that some types of vermiculite were contaminated with asbestos fibres. If you suspect that your pool area may contain vermiculite insulation, don’t try to remove it yourself—call a professional instead.
Another common source of asbestos exposure during pool season is outdoor grills. Many older grills were manufactured with an asbestos-containing heat shield material that can become brittle and release harmful fibres into the air when disturbed. If you own an older grill, it’s best to replace it with a newer model that doesn’t contain asbestos.
So Where do we Go From Here?
As mentioned before, the presence of asbestos in your home is enough reason to get professional help to get these harmful substances out. But in case these harmful but naturally occurring minerals are found in your pool, there are a few steps to remember:
This Isn’t the Time for DIY Stuff
As any homeowner knows, keeping your pool in good condition is essential for maintaining the value of your home. Unfortunately, pools built before the 1980s may contain asbestos, which can be harmful to your health if it’s disturbed. If you think your pool may contain asbestos, don’t try to remove it yourself – this is a job for a professional.
Trying to remove asbestos yourself can be extremely dangerous, as it releases harmful fibres into the air that can be breathed in. Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other serious health problems. Asbestos removal is a complex and dangerous process, and it’s best left to those with the training and experience to do it safely. In addition, some states have specific regulations that must be followed when removing asbestos. So if you’re concerned about asbestos in your pool, the best thing to do is to call a qualified professional who can help you resolve the issue.
Have Testing Done for Any Other Contaminants
Once the asbestos has been removed, it’s important to have your pool tested for any other contaminants. There are a variety of tests that can be performed, and it’s important to choose a reputable company that will give you accurate results. In many cases, it may also be necessary to have your pool professionally cleaned after the removal of asbestos.
Contaminants in your pool can make you and your family sick, so it’s important to have your pool tested regularly. If you’ve had asbestos removal recently, it’s especially important to have your pool tested for other contaminants. Many different types of contaminants can be found in pools, so it’s important to work with a professional who can test for all of them. Some common contaminants include E. coli and Legionella.
These contaminants can cause respiratory problems, skin infections, and gastrointestinal illnesses. In severe cases, they can even be fatal. While it’s impossible to eliminate the risk of contamination, regular testing can help you identify any problems early so you can take steps to mitigate the risk.
If All Else Fails
Building a new pool is a big decision and one that shouldn’t be made lightly. There are a lot of factors to consider, including cost, size, and location. But if your current pool is contaminated with too many contaminants, it might be worth considering starting from scratch.
Of course, the first step is to try to clean and test the pool to see if the levels of contaminants can be brought down to an acceptable level. But sometimes, no matter how much you clean and test, there are just too many contaminants left behind. In those cases, it might be better to start over with a new pool. Building a new pool is a big investment, but it can be worth it if it means having a safe and clean place to swim. If you’re not sure whether or not building a new pool is the right decision for you, talk to your local pool experts. They can help you weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for your situation.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in older homes and buildings. Although it is no longer used in new construction, it can still pose a danger to people who are exposed to it. If you think there may be asbestos in your pool area, don’t try to remove it yourself; contact a professional who is trained in dealing with asbestos instead. By taking these simple precautions, you can help keep your family safe from the potential dangers of exposure to this harmful material.