Guest Blogger: Brian Turner – Toxic Substance Safety Advocate
There are all sorts of hazardous chemicals associated with a DIY project. Regardless of how small or large the project is, there are chemicals and products used in the process that can be dangerous. It’s not enough to deter anyone from doing their own home renovations but it is critical enough to know how to prepare. With such things as paint thinners and asbestos nearby, everyone needs to know how to handle the situation.
Asbestos is found in many of the older homes throughout the country. It can hide in the insulation in the attic, behind the walls and even under the floorboards. The moment it is disturbed, it can be a threat to the entire home. If the asbestos fibers circulate through the home, everyone can be exposed. This is why it’s critical to take precautions and wear the proper gear.
Anyone who believes they have asbestos should have the home tested prior to starting on a DIY project. This will ensure the proper steps are taken to contain the asbestos before anyone has a chance to inhale or ingest the fibers. When the asbestos gets into the body, there’s a chance of developing many asbestos related disease including mesothelioma cancer, a cancer that is directly linked with the substance.
OSHA talks about the dangers of asbestos and what can be done when working around it. This includes using a dual cartridge respirator. These can be found in various hardware and improvement stores. Various models exist with replaceable cartridges so it’s important to know when it needs to be replaced.
Other hazardous chemicals can also be present with a DIY project. This includes paint thinner, polyurethane and various other chemicals. It’s important to read the MSDS sheet that coincides with the product to see the recommendations in terms of safety gear. Often times it requires goggles as well as special gloves.
When there are situations involving sanding, sawing or any other actions that involve a lot of dust and fibers circulating in the air, it’s important to wear as much gear as possible. This includes a respirator as well as eye goggles. While it’s not going to be the most comfortable, it’s going to offer a significant amount of protection. Anyone in the neighboring area should have the same gear on to avoid any kind of exposure.
There are plenty of hazardous chemicals and dangers around a home renovation project. They can all lead to various injuries and illnesses but they can be avoided with a little bit of planning. As long as everyone acknowledges the risks, everything can go without any kind of hiccups.
Gaining a sense of pride on a DIY project is all well and good, but it shouldn’t risk health at the same time. There’s no money saved if someone gets injured in the process. While it may be inconvenient to wear safety gear, it’s better for everyone involved to avoid any kind of exposure to the hazardous chemicals. With or without asbestos, it can be very dangerous.