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How do I know if I have asbestos in my home? What is asbestos anyway?
Do I need to test for asbestos before I try to sell my home or renovate and remodel?
What are a landlord’s responsibilities regarding asbestos in rental properties?
How do I test for asbestos?
We aim to answer all these questions.
At Healthy Home, we offer quality, affordable asbestos testing.
Our technicians give you the information you need to make informed decisions.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral material that has been found to have fire resistant or noncombustible properties. Because of this, many building materials have been made from materials that contain asbestos. When in good condition, materials containing asbestos don’t pose immediate harm.
Prior to renovation or demolition and/or when materials begin to break down or show signs of deterioration, it is likely time to begin thinking about having your home tested for asbestos.
Asbestos is found in many building materials. Homeowners and landlords should test for potential asbestos prior to remodeling regardless of when the house was built. Home remodeling, renovations or potential real estate transactions often require up-to-date asbestos testing. When evaluating the potential of asbestos in apartments, houses or buildings, it is important to have professional testing done by EPA-accredited asbestos inspectors. Healthy Home technicians perform asbestos testing services adhering to safe and effective protocols, protecting our clients and delivering timely results.
Asbestos is most commonly found in building materials. Asbestos can be found in older homes’ materials that are still in use such as insulation, tiles, wallboard, siding, roofing, and patching, spackling and taping compounds. Some newer homes may also contain asbestos.
A homeowner or landlord should look for cracks, dusty areas and spots where material seems to be in the process of breaking down and falling apart. You may find asbestos in attic or wall insulation, vinyl flooring tiles, vinyl sheet flooring or adhesives and on certain roofing and siding shingles. It may also appear in textured paint and patching compounds used on the walls or ceilings or on walls that surround wood burning stoves. Asbestos can also be found in hot water and steam pipe coatings, oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with insulation.
Although these are common places where asbestos is found in buildings, there are many other places where this noncombustible material may have been used when building your property.
Landlords have an ethical and legal obligation to notify tenants if there is asbestos in a rental property. Prior to renovating, suspected materials should be tested for asbestos. Many homes built prior to the 1980’s contain asbestos, but it can still be found in homes built after 1980. Just because a home contains materials with asbestos, it doesn’t mean that the asbestos is exposed or harmful. Landlords should carefully inspect their rental properties for deteriorating building materials. It is when the building materials begin to deteriorate that asbestos exposure is likely. If asbestos is found in deteriorating materials, landlords should consult state and county landlord-tenant laws for counsel on how to proceed.
Landlords have an ethical and legal obligation to notify tenants if there is asbestos in a rental property.
Modern scientific research has revealed a link between asbestos and certain types of cancer.
Health effects from long-term, unsafe asbestos exposure are well documented. Asbestos fibers are easily inhaled and carried into the lower regions of the lungs where they can cause fibrotic lung disease (asbestosis), a non-cancerous hardening of the lungs that changes the lining of the chest cavity (pleura). Asbestosis symptoms are similar to those of emphysema. Asbestosis can be fatal, but many people may live for years with debilitating symptoms. The onset of asbestosis can be 20 to 40 years after exposure.
Long-term inhalation of asbestos fibers also increases the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer caused by asbestos fibers entering the mesothelial lining between the lungs and stomach. A person who smokes or lives with a smoker in the house and is exposed to asbestos is 90 times more likely to get lung cancer.
Other health effects of asbestos exposure are respiratory infections and enlargement of the heart.
People are more likely to experience asbestos-related disorders if they:
Figure A shows the location of the lungs, airways, pleura, and diaphragm in the body.
Figure B shows lungs with asbestos-related diseases, including pleural plaque, lung cancer, asbestosis, plaque on the diaphragm and mesothelioma.
Author: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Simply speaking, asbestos testing is performed by taking a sample of the suspect material and sending it to an accredited lab to analyze for asbestos fibers. Testing for asbestos in bulk materials is relatively inexpensive and straightforward.
Materials containing more than 1% asbestos are considered asbestos-containing.
When testing a home for asbestos, we perform surveys, which are helpful tools to minimize the risk of potential exposure to asbestos to your family. We perform a walk-through of your home and identify all accessible suspect materials. Samples are carefully taken and sent to our accredited labs for analysis. Findings are reported and delivered to you in approximately one week.
The City of Portland is very strict about the identification and removal of asbestos-containing materials. For this reason, asbestos surveys are required prior to the issuance of renovation or demolition permits. A survey is also required by Portland Metro landfills to dump debris they receive in dumpsters. In a nutshell, have your home tested for asbestos before you apply for building permits!
Here at Healthy Home, we are experts at gathering efficient and safe asbestos samples and getting the results to you quickly and affordably.