SHORT ANSWER: Not really.
An air purifier generally will not remove the dangers of asbestos fibers if they are present in the area, because asbestos fibers are microscopic and durable. Even with an air purifier, people on (or even near) the premises where asbestos is exposed can still inhale or swallow asbestos fibers. Over time, these fibers can cause significant health problems, including cancers like mesothelioma. In addition, in most states, property owners are liable for damages if a known hazard causes injury.
Why an air purifier will not remove the dangers of airborne asbestos fibers.
Air purifiers do a great job removing dust and other allergens from the air. But, in most cases, you only need a magnifying glass to see pet dander or another airborne allergen. You need a microscope to see an asbestos fiber. If asbestos fibers were on a U.S. penny, twenty thousand could fit between Abraham Lincoln’s upper lip and the top of his beard.
Asbestos dust is far more dangerous than conventional dust.
Additionally, in most cases, dust and other allergies are somewhat debilitating, but certainly not life threatening. Toxic asbestos fibers are much different. Most people must smoke cigarettes for years, or even decades, before a significant lung cancer risk arises. But a single asbestos fiber could cause mesothelioma, a very rare, and very aggressive, form of lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer, the most common kind of smoking-related lung cancer, is usually treatable. Mesothelioma is normally fatal.
Even with an air purifier, people on or near the premises may be exposed to asbestos fibers.
So, an air purifier probably won’t protect people from asbestos. Even if it could, the stakes are so high that a quick fix isn’t enough. Property owners have a moral duty to do better. They also have a legal duty to do better. In most states, property owners are liable for damages if a known hazard causes injury. Fortunately, some other alternatives are available. Granted, all of them are more expensive than an air purifier. However, all of them are more cost-effective.
Asbestos in your home or property can be dangerous if it’s exposed and the asbestos fibers become airborne.
Asbestos exposure, as opposed to asbestos itself, is dangerous. So, if the exposure risk is minimal, a minimally-invasive intervention might be a good idea. Usually, painting over a problem and ignoring it is a very bad approach. But this area is an exception.
Asbestos is still with us.
Back in the day, builders often used asbestos-laced concrete, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, fences, and other such products. All these years later, scientists still haven’t developed a better fireproofing agent. Asbestos is also an effective filler. In 2019, Justice and Claire’s recalled some children’s makeup because it contained asbestos.
If the tile or other material shows absolutely no signs of wear and tear, like hairline cracks, cleaning and painting over the surface may be an option.
Covering exposed asbestos from your home or property generally isn’t enough.
First, you must inspect the surface. Wear full protective clothing during this investigation. None of your skin should be exposed to the air. If you find no flaws, and we mean none, repainting could be the next step. Asbestos fibers are so small that calking cracks isn’t good enough. Asbestos fibers will still leak out.
Next, carefully and thoroughly clean the surface. Use tools like a mild calendar and a soft toothbrush. Finally, apply at least two coats of paint. Dispose of everything you touch, such as clothes and brushes, immediately after use.
The paint-over approach is especially attractive if you are selling the house or other building. Coverups don’t provide much peace of mind. But they are good enough to satisfy most home inspectors.
The safest path is to have asbestos removed by professionals.
Since asbestos fibers are so dangerous, any exposure risk is, well, risky. Visible wear and tear on floor tiles, ceiling tiles, or other products most likely laced with asbestos requires more aggressive measures.
Professional remediation is necessary in these cases. Depending on the size of the treatment area and some other factors, the cost could be between several hundred and several thousand dollars.
Professional asbestos removal is not cheap, but usually worth it.
However, this investment is worthwhile. The removal company assumes all health risks, since its employees do all the work. Additionally, if someone is exposed to asbestos at a later date, the removal company, as opposed to the landlord, is legally responsible for damages, at least in most cases.
Asbestos exposure can lead to many significant health problems, including asbestosis, and even cancers like mesothelioma. Treatment of such diseases can be very costly, and lead to lost work, and a debilitated quality of life. Fortunately, in many cases, if someone was exposed to asbestos and developed an asbestos-related illness, there are various legal paths to receive compensation, sometimes without a lawsuit.
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The dangers of asbestos during demolition:
Demolishing the structure and rebuilding is the only way to be sure that asbestos fibers lurking in the walls will not hurt anyone. This option is also the most expensive alternative. However, available tax credits and other financial incentives could be available. That’s especially true if the structure is a commercial building.
AsbestosClaims.law is your comprehensive resource for all things asbestos. We hope this information helps you.
If you believe that your home was contaminated with asbestos, you could be entitled to significant compensation—money you could use to cover the costs of asbestos removal services, pay for medical treatment, and preemptively protect your physical well-being.
In addition to legal claims, veterans disability, social security and employment protection like workers compensation, FELA and The Jones Act for maritime workers, there are asbestos trusts that have been set up to compensate those harmed by asbestos without having to file a lawsuit.
If you have any additional questions or concerns related to asbestos, including testing for exposure or how to file a claim, please get in touch by email at [email protected], or call or text us at (206) 455-9190.