Checking For and Dealing With Asbestos in the Home

Checking For and Dealing With Asbestos in the Home

December 27, 2018 | Mesothelioma

Even though it is a naturally occurring substance, asbestos can be quite dangerous and poses many health issues after being exposed. The most well-known illness associated with asbestos is known as mesothelioma. This disease attacks the lining of the organs in the body and predominantly attacks the stomach, heart, or lungs and causes pain, troubles with the damaged organs, and eventual death. Mesothelioma of the lungs is the most common type diagnosed and is also the one most people know about. The difficult thing with asbestos exposure is we do not understand it well enough yet and there seems to be no real correlation that has been seen as of yet in terms of exposure, age, type of exposures, and overall health to help medical researchers understand why some people develop problems after exposure and others do not. More research is needed and the work continues today to better understand the health effects asbestos presents to those who are exposed to it.


Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Several factors will affect the likelihood of exposure to asbestos resulting in an increased risk for mesothelioma. These can include things such as:

  • Dose – the intensity of the asbestos exposure and the amount that someone breathes in
  • Duration –how much time the individual spent exposed to the asbestos materials
  • Type- there are several types of asbestos and they may affect the body differently
  • Source- whether it is natural asbestos or material in the home that contains asbestos
  • Individuals- each individual has his or her own risk factors for developing mesothelioma
  • Genetic factors- there is some thought that genetics can affect asbestos reactions


How Does Asbestos Exposure Happen?

There are two main types of asbestos that you may be exposed to:

  • Chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, is the most common type of asbestos in industrial applications. When looked at under the microscope, chrysotile asbestos fibers wrap around themselves in a spiral, which is why this form of asbestos is also called serpentine or curly asbestos.
  • Amphibole asbestos fibers are straight and needle-like. There are several types of amphibole fibers, including amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite.

The most common way people are exposed to asbestos is in their homes.  If your home was built or renovated before 1987, you may be surprised where asbestos products have been used in your home.  There are many household products made from materials that use or are made with asbestos. Some of these include:

Inside House

Outside House

  • Backing of vinyl sheet flooring
  • Carpet underlay
  • Cement flooring
  • Compressed asbestos sheet
  • Flues to fireplaces
  • Insulation below wood heater
  • Internal and external ventilators
  • Internal angle mouldings
  • Internal walls & ceiling
  • Kitchen splashback
  • Loose fill insulation in roofs
  • Some marble finish wall panels
  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Wall sheeting – internal
  • Backing for electrical boards
  • Dog kennel
  • Downpipes
  • Eaves and gables ends
  • External angle mouldings
  • Fence
  • Garage
  • Gutters
  • Insulation for hot water pipes and tank
  • Internal and external ventilators
  • Ridge capping
  • Sheds & external toilets
  • Wall sheeting – external


What If I Find Asbestos in My House?

Asbestos is not something to mess around with and even a one-time exposure can be enough to make you sick, even years down the road. You should call in a professional home inspector and asbestos expert to check your home if you are worried there may be asbestos present. The method for dealing with asbestos in the home depends on where the asbestos is found, the condition of the material, and whether it is friable or non-friable. Friable asbestos can be easily crumbled or reduced to a powder and become airborne. Non-friable asbestos is more tightly bound with another material and fibers can’t easily be made airborne unless they are cut, sanded, or sawed. If asbestos-containing material is currently in good condition and contained such that fibers cannot be released, then it may not be dangerous at this time. However, the situation should be monitored for signs of asbestos deterioration and damage.  In some cases, asbestos-containing materials can be isolated and if there is little to no chance of it being disturbed then it may be safe to leave the asbestos material where it is. This should be done only as a temporary solution and the material must not be disturbed or the asbestos may be released. Eventually, you will need to call in professionals to remove the asbestos materials safely and effectively.


Removing Asbestos

Asbestos removal is the only permanent solution to the problem of asbestos in the home. However, removal poses a high risk of fiber release if not done properly. Air samples should be taken after the work is completed to ensure the safety of the homeowner. Many home repair or remodeling contractors do not have this special certification. Make sure that the person you choose has completed a federal or state-approved asbestos safety course. Contact your regional EPA office, your local health department, and the Better Business Bureau, for a list of professionals in your area.


Legal Steps to Take

If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma as the result of exposure to asbestos, there are legal steps you can take to get compensation for your pain and suffering and to help cover your medical expenses and loss of income. To get the help you need with your mesothelioma case contact a mesothelioma attorney in your area to get started with your case. You owe it to yourself and your family to get the compensation you deserve! Our law firm has decades of experience fighting for our clients in a range of personal injury lawsuits related to exposure to asbestos. Many have been connected in some way to asbestos exposure or the development of mesothelioma or other health condition due to their exposure. So, call us today and let us review your case and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.


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