There is still a large number of homes spread across the nation that were built with asbestos-containing products; thousands upon thousands of these homes are still occupied. If you own a home that was built prior to the early to mid-1980s, there is a chance you’re living with asbestos. This isn’t meant to scare you, but to help understand what you can do to ensure the safety of you and your family.
In the late 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed strict regulations on asbestos use in North America. Over the course of the next several years, manufacturers and construction companies began phasing asbestos out of their products, in order to adhere to the EPA’s new rules.
Yet, the homes that were built prior to the EPA’s regulations weren’t demolished or even tested for asbestos unless homeowners took it upon themselves to do so. This was, and still remains, a task that many homeowners are unaware of.
Asbestos is only harmful when airborne. When home homeowners start renovations and repairs in asbestos filled homes they release these fibers in the air. In turn, they not only put themselves in danger, but anyone in the vicinity as well. Asbestos fibers are almost weightless, and can easily permeate throughout areas without anyone ever noticing.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the following are the most common areas and products in older homes where asbestos may be present. Homeowners who’re unaware of the dangers that asbestos can bring frequently work many of these areas on:
- Asbestos Cement Roofing and Siding
- Insulation Walls
- Floor Vinyl
- Hot water pipes
- Oil furnaces
- Coal furnaces
- Shingles and siding
- Door gaskets
- Do You Have Asbestos in Your Home?
First of all, if you live in an older home, there’s no reason to panic. As mentioned, asbestos is only dangerous when it’s disturbed and asbestos fibers become airborne. This generally happens when people start DIY projects, without first having they’re home properly tested.
Water leaks and damaged materials in the home can also increase the risk of asbestos exposure, but you should never try to repair them yourself until you’re certain that your house wasn’t built with asbestos materials, or if your house does have asbestos, it’s been properly removed and disposed of by a professional.
Keep in mind that asbestos fibers are tiny, odorless, colorless, and impossible to detect with the human eye. You’ll need to call a licensed professional to check your home thoroughly. If asbestos is found, you’ll need a licensed professional to properly abate the dangerous materials. Asbestos exposure can be seriously dangerous, even the smallest amount of asbestos has the potential to cause significant health damage.
Any home project that has the potential of disturbing asbestos is not worth risking your health over. Before you start any home project, make sure you have your home thoroughly checked, and if needed, abated by a professional trained to detect and remove asbestos the safe and legal way.
If you have any questions concerning today’s blog or any inquiries on our home inspection training, please don’t hesitate to contact us!