Breathing asbestos fibers can be dangerous and each exposure to asbestos material can increase your health risks. Therefore, it is especially important for homeowners to be informed about the potential for asbestos in any home they consider buying.
Did You Know?
You cannot identify whether a material contains asbestos or not simply by looking at it.
What Is Asbestos and How Is It Used?
While asbestos is a naturally occurring, mineral fiber found in soil and rock, it’s long been used as a construction material in homes. This is because asbestos does not conduct electricity and is resistant to heat and fire. It’s found in materials like floor and ceiling tiles, cement and friction products, and heat resistant fabrics.
Why Test for Asbestos?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that those exposed to asbestos fibers are at a greater risk of developing lung cancer. Since you cannot tell if there is asbestos in a floor, wall, or ceiling solely by looking at it, testing is important to gauge the risk. It is particularly crucial for anyone considering home renovations. Disturbing asbestos-containing materials causes fibers to be released into the air, which people then inhale.
Unfortunately, breathing in asbestos may lead to serious health problems. When you inhale asbestos, the fibers get trapped in your lungs. This can lead to mesothelioma, a chronic disease of the lungs characterized by shortness of breath and coughing. Because of the serious health risks caused by asbestos, we recommend new homeowners—and especially home renovators—get professional asbestos testing at their home or place of work.
Where Is Asbestos Found?
Since asbestos materials were so popular prior to 1980, it can be found in a number of different places. Homes and buildings built prior to 1980 are likely to have at least some asbestos within the building materials. Typically, it is found in exterior siding, roof shingles, flooring, caulking, attic and wall insulation, and paint or patching compounds.
If asbestos is contained, it may never be an issue. However, asbestos testing needs to be done if home renovations are part of your future plans. Our inspectors can help identify potential asbestos materials that may need to be tested for conclusive results. If asbestos is discovered, you’ll need to understand the additional costs for remediation and be sure to add those expenses to your total renovation budget. A licensed abatement contractor must complete remediation prior to any other demolition being started.
Get Asbestos Testing to Stay Informed!
Nothing can send a potential homebuyer running more quickly than the word “asbestos” and with good reason. Asbestos is a known hazard since the fibers can damage the lung tissues once inhaled. However, don’t panic! It’s important to keep in mind that it can be removed and should not necessarily prevent you from buying the home you want. The main issue is that you should be informed. Then you can make the best decision for how to move forward.