Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Asbestos information- Safe alternatives

San Diego Homeowners Striving for Green Living

Living in the 21st century, many cities are adapting to the new green paradigm, updating old homes and buildings to suit the needs of a healthier environment and home. With a growing amount of education and technology in eco-sustainable resources, the state of California is leading the way towards a green paradigm of building and construction.
It is important to take note of the consequences of improper building materials and environmental degradation. As citizens of Earth, we are obligated to nurture and sustain this planet.
Known for a large industrial history, California’s economy has had success in areas such as ship-building, mining and power generation. These industries found many usages for asbestos, as the material has fire and heat resistant qualities. Utilized in homes as a form of piping and insulation throughout the 20th century, asbestos manufacterers were aware of the corrosive effects of the substance, but continued manufacturing it anyways. This obsolete building material can easily be replaced with green methods of insulation that can even reduce annual energy costs!

Many homes, buildings and public facilities built prior to 1980 may still contain asbestos and other hazardous materials. In many instances, the best action is no action at all. Disturbing asbestos in good condition may cause its fibers to be released into the air. Prolonged exposure to airborne asbestos fibers can potentially lead to the development of related lung ailments such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive form of asbestos cancer that accounts for three percent of cancer diagnoses in the United States. Due to the fact many mesothelioma symptoms are similar to less serious ailments, Diagnosis of mesothelioma is one of the more difficult tasks physicians encounter.

Go Green in the Home

“Green” home modifications will help save on energy costs and provide tax credits, but some of them may even be better for your health.

Recently, congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Included in this act were extensions to the tax incentives placed for energy efficiency in 2005, as well as new credits for homeowners who remodel or build using eco-sustainable methods. Some of the measures that are eligible for tax credits include added insulation to walls, ceilings, or other part of the building envelope that meets the 2009 IECC specifications, sealing cracks in the building shell and ducts to reduce heat loss. Storm doors paired with U-factored rated wood doors are also eligible.

Most people are unaware to the fact that eco-friendly products can cut energy costs by 25 % per year. The U.S. Green Building Council conducted a study which estimated a new savings of $50-$65 per square foot for positively constructed green buildings. As education and technology of green sustainable practices increase, the numbers will continue to rise.

There is no need for any products used in construction to be made from asbestos, yet over 3,000 work and home-based materials still contain this toxin. Rather than expensive and mal-treated wood, interior walls can be made from steel and concrete, avoiding many of the problems associated with asbestos and other insulation methods. Green alternatives to asbestos include the use of cotton fiber, lcynene foam and cellulose. These green options have the same beneficial qualities as asbestos, minus the health deteriorating and toxic components. Many locations throughout the United States are swiftly changing their construction practices to suit the environment and the health of human beings.

“Credit to Paul James of the Mesothelioma Cancer Center for
submitting the article.”

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