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How to Tell if There's Asbestos in Your House

Could There Still Be Asbestos in Residential Homes?

Asbestos is a well-known cause of mesothelioma, a devastating cancer that can take decades to appear. Unfortunately, this knowledge only became common knowledge relatively recently, which means that if your home was built before 1979, there’s a very real chance it may contain asbestos.

According to the managing director of the Environmental Information Association Brent Kynoch:

“Asbestos is often not on a homeowner’s radar, but it certainly should be. There are a number of different construction materials in houses that are likely to contain asbestos. And all too often a homeowner finds out about them after they’ve exposed themselves and their families.”

Removing Asbestos Can Be Expensive

Unfortunately, it can be expensive to hire the necessary contractors to completely remove asbestos from your home. Depending on the size of your home, the services of a professional asbestos abatement contractor with the necessary training to contain any particles that could be present during demolition and disposal can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 according to Kynoch. As expensive as renovations may be, they’re negligible compared to the cost of mesothelioma treatment and care.

While asbestos fibers generally don’t cause problems when they’re left alone, they could easily become airborne if the material surrounding it is disturbed or damaged, like when you tear down the Sheetrock or rip up the floor tiles.

Where Can You Find Asbestos in a Home?

Some of the most common places you can find asbestos in your home include:

  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Felt
  • Roofing shingles
  • Siding
  • Wallboard
  • Adhesives
  • Joint compounds, putties, and caulking
  • Fire doors and curtains
  • Acoustical and decorative plaster
  • Insulation between walls, in the attic, and around boilers and pipes

Because of its incredible versatility and properties, asbestos was used since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, right up until it was partially banned in 1978. Because asbestos is not completely banned, it may still be used to manufacture items including:

  • Cement shingles
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Roofing coatings and felt
  • Cement corrugated wallboard

According to Kynoch,

“The average homeowner believes that asbestos has been completely banned in the U.S. and would be surprised to know that they still can be contaminated and expose their families to these deadly fibers. You’re not going to know that asbestos is present, because there’s no labeling requirements.”

What Can I Do To Find Out If My Home Has Asbestos?

Your best course of action is to hire a special asbestos inspector to check your home, or a home you plan on buying, for asbestos. While asbestos used to be included in a home inspector’s checklist, it’s become far less common over the years.

If they discover the presence of asbestos, they will proceed following these steps:

  • Enclose: Step one is to isolate the carcinogenic materials in an airtight barrier to prevent the risk of inhaling the poisonous particles.
  • Encapsulate: Step two is to spray down the asbestos with a sealant that will further prevent particles from becoming airborne.
  • Repair: Step three is to repair any areas that are damaged, including any tears in the insulation.
  • Remove: Step four is to completely remove the asbestos from your home. The professionals will make sure that any vents or ducts are completely sealed off and that the asbestos remains damp in order to minimize any airborne particles before using a specialized vacuum to attack the problem areas. The hazardous waste will then be disposed of in an approved landfill that follows all local, state, and Environmental Protection Agency (EAP) regulations.

If you suspect that there’s asbestos present in your home, make sure to avoid any activities in the area and refrain from vacuuming, sweeping, or dusting in the area.

What Can I Do If I Have Mesothelioma?

Because mesothelioma can take decades to appear it can be incredibly complicated to identify the original cause of the cancer. At Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC Cowan Heckaman, our mesothelioma attorneys have spent their careers representing victims dealing with this disease in order to ensure they receive the medical care they need and the compensation they deserve.

If you or someone you love was diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact us today by filling out our online form to get started with a free case evaluation or by giving us a call to speak with one of our mesothelioma lawyers today.

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