For many individuals, exposure to asbestos happens on the job. For others, it can happen within their own home. Most houses built between 1940 and 1990 may contain asbestos in floor and ceiling tiles, roofing materials, pipe and duct insulation, attack insulation, piping, joint compound, stucco, and more. During the industrial revolution, asbestos was considered a "miracle mineral," because it was affordable, fire-resistant, and had insulating properties. These things made asbestos seem perfect for the construction of residential homes across America. However, most of the manufactures knew at the time that these products would cause fatal cancer.
See our Asbestos in the Home infographic to see where asbestos could be located in your older home.
While many asbestos companies were aware of the dangers of asbestos, families had little to no clue about the hazards it posed to their health. Also, men, women, and children who live in homes built all those years ago are at risk for coming into contact with asbestos today.
How Asbestos Becomes a Hazard
Asbestos becomes a danger to human health once it has become airborne through any type of activity. Asbestos materials, such as ceiling plaster and floor tiles, are less hazardous if they remain in good condition and are not breaking down or falling apart. Even if in good condition, some homeowners choose to seal off asbestos flooring and other materials to prevent future problems.
Deteriorating asbestos products release asbestos dust into the air, which can be inhaled by individuals. Inhaled asbestos fibers can become trapped within the respiratory system, among other places, and lead to debilitating diseases. This can make the remodel or renovation of older homes a serious hazard for homeowners. It is wise to check for asbestos before starting any construction projects in older homes.
Checking for Asbestos in Your Home
Asbestos fibers are tiny. They are so small that they cannot be seen with the human eye, so locating the substance in your home could be difficult. If there is a deteriorating product or material in your home that you suspect could contain asbestos fibers, having a professional take a sample and sendit to a certified laboratory for analysis is the best way to find out how much danger you could be in.
The American Lung Association suggests hiring a certified asbestos professional to take and handle any samples from your home. No amount of asbestos exposure is safe, and hiring a professional is the greatest way to minimize exposure for you and your family.
What to Do if Asbestos is Found in Your Home
Asbestos removal is the only permanent solution to the problem of finding asbestos in your home. Hiring a certified professional to remove the hazard from your home is recommended, as a "do-it-yourself" attempt could result in disaster for you and your family. Air samples should be taken after the work is complete to ensure the safety of the homeowner. See Asbestosnetwork.com for more information on what to do if your home tests positive for asbestos. Brayton Purcell L.L.P. is committed to holding those responsible for negligent asbestos exposure accountable for their actions.
Asbestos abatement companies and other contractors failing to properly handle and remove asbestos from older homes are all too common. If you have hired a professional asbestos abatement company or contractor who failed to properly remove asbestos from your home, contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and your local air quality management district, which have strict guidelines for the public's safety that must be followed.