The Short Answer: Yes (and you probably should too)

Property inspections are essential before agreeing to the purchase of real estate. Not only do buyers need to ensure that the house is in sound condition, but they want the assurance that it is safe to inhabit. 

A home inspector’s checklist is long. 

They must assess all aspects of the property, including the foundations, electrical and plumbing components, and whether there are any issues that need addressing, such as mold from water damage. Many problems discovered during a home inspection are minor, such as a faulty switch; nevertheless, no stone is left unturned when it comes to the structural and operational integrity of the building.

Asbestos in the home

Asbestos is a virtually indestructible, durable mineral material used in a variety of industrial applications for decades before its devastating impact on human health was publicly exposed. 

Given its highly effective fire-retardant and insulative properties, it was considered an excellent solution for home construction until the 1970s, when its sinister effects became known. Now, it is well documented that asbestos exposure can create devastating health issues, which can take up to fifty years to develop.

The American Lung Association has stated that once inhaled or swallowed, some asbestos fibers never leave the body.1

“Some asbestos fibers may bypass…your body’s natural defenses…and lodge deep within your lungs. Those fibers can remain in place for a very long time and may never be removed.”

Source: American Lung Association

Hazardous Asbestos is still in many homes and buildings.

Despite the now well-understood health risks associated with asbestos, it is still used in some countries, and asbestos is not fully banned in the United States. Many homes constructed before the 1980s in America still feature asbestos in various parts and construction materials

While some inspectors will include information regarding asbestos, home inspections in the US are not required by law to include a test for asbestos. A professionally trained home inspector will usually indicate to you if a property contains materials that may include asbestos. Still, homeowners and potential buyers need to understand that just because details regarding asbestos are not included in an inspection report, doesn’t mean that asbestos is not present in the home. 

When is an asbestos inspection required?

Any house built before 1975 is highly likely to include asbestos. Up to this time, asbestos was routinely used for thermal insulation on boilers and pipes.

Unfortunately, the use of asbestos was common in a variety of household materials, making it all the more important to carry out asbestos testing. 

If asbestos is present in a home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be removed. But there is a risk it will become a danger.

When left undisturbed and undamaged, asbestos doesn’t pose any risks to your health. The danger of asbestos lies in its disturbance causing the tiny abrasive fibers to become airborne and subsequently inhaled. Once inhaled, these fibers can damage lung tissue, leading to lung disease and asbestos-related cancers

Asbestos testing and removal

It can be difficult for an untrained eye to detect the presence of asbestos in a home, and even trained professionals may be unsure without testing a material. Unless a common feature such as a ‘popcorn ceiling’ is present, asbestos can be used as part of a material’s manufacturing and is not apparent upon visual inspection alone. 

If you are ever in any doubt as to the presence of asbestos, be sure to consult a professional before disturbing the material in question. 

“The overall evidence suggests there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.”

Source: National Cancer Institute (NIH) 2

Finding an Asbestos Abatement Company For Your Home

An asbestos abatement company typically carries out asbestos testing. If you need to find an asbestos abatement company for your home, you may want to consider several factors.

There are two primary accredited asbestos professionals that you can hire to carry out any asbestos-related work. 

  • Asbestos inspectors inspect and assess the conditions of a property, and take a sample of any suspected asbestos-containing materials away for testing. From there, they will advise you whether it is present, and what actions must subsequently be taken. These professionals will then ensure that any contractors engaged follow proper procedures, including clean-up. They may also monitor the air to ensure that no increase of asbestos fibers is present. 
  • Asbestos contractors are the professionals accredited to safely remove or repair materials that contain asbestos. In America, you are permitted to carry out your own asbestos removal for residential properties, but it isn’t recommended. The risks simply are not worth the savings made, and hiring trained and fully accredited professionals is by far the safest and wisest choice. 

Final thoughts

Many homeowners and potential buyers falsely believe that their properties are safe from asbestos, when, in fact, their home inspection may not have even tested for it. 

If you are thinking of buying or renovating a property, especially if built before the 1980s, be sure to get it specifically checked out by a trained asbestos professional before starting work or committing to the purchase.

Compensation for your home or premises exposure to asbestos

If you believe that you were exposed to 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. 

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos illness, you may qualify for compensation without filing a lawsuit. 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.

Filing a claim with an asbestos trust is not a lawsuit. There are no depositions or court fees, and compensation is usually received far more quickly than any lawsuit. is your comprehensive resource for all things asbestos. We hope this information helps you. 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.

1 American Lung Association, Asbestos, How Asbestos Impacts Health (updated 2022).
2 National Cancer Institute (NIH), Asbestos Fact Sheet.