Asbestos is a known carcinogen found in many common building materials, such as insulation, floor tiles, siding, and roofing. This particulate has flexible, long fibers that enable it to lodge in your lungs. There are no immediate symptoms to alert you of contact, but prolonged exposure to asbestos impairs lung function, causes asbestosis, lung scarring, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and digestive tract cancer if the fibers are unknowingly swallowed.
Unfortunately, it was only in 1978, after the health problems of asbestos miners were documented, that it was banned for use in homes in the US. However, it remains in many American homes, especially those built prior to 1978, and is very difficult to remove. If the product containing asbestos is damaged or altered in any way the asbestos becomes airborne and dangerous. This makes remodeling older homes particularly tricky. The Environment Protection Agency advises that “When you need to remove or clean up asbestos, use a professionally trained contractor.”
According to Criterium Home Inspection, approximately 20% of all homes are estimated to have some asbestos in them and approximately 50% of homes more than 50 years old are likely to contain some asbestos. Have peace of mind and keep your family healthy, schedule your home evaluation today!
Criterium Home Inspection. http://www.criteriumhomeinspection.com/articles/asbestos.html
Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/insidest.html#Look8
Johnston, David and Kim Master. Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2004.
Krigger, John and Chris Dorsi. Residential Energy, Cost Saving and Comfort for Existing Buildings, Fourth Edition. Helena: Thompson-Shore, Inc., 2004.