If your house was built or remodeled before 1980, it probably has asbestos. Almost all builders used this mineral for various purposes, mostly insulation and fireproofing. Since asbestos is highly toxic (more on that below), this substance can significantly reduce your home’s value. Asbestos could decrease your home’s curb appeal even further.
Residential floor tiles, siding, and walls often contain asbestos. As mentioned, asbestos is a very effective fireproofing mineral. So, floor tiles and siding panels often contained layers of asbestos. As for the walls, builders often mixed asbestos into concrete. People who want to sell their houses and know they contain asbestos have basically two options. They may remedy the problem or simply disclose it. Willful blindness normally isn’t an excuse. So, in either case, using an asbestos test, and preferably free asbestos testing, is usually the right move. Failure to remedy or disclose could mean a world of trouble later.
What’s at Stake with Asbestos Exposure
Why To Conduct An Asbestos Test On Your Home or Building
Many people don’t fully realize the dangers of asbestos. A single microscopic fiber could cause a serious illness like:
- Asbestosis: An inhaled asbestos fiber could cause scar tissue to build up in the lungs. For many years, the symptoms of asbestosis, like trouble catching one’s breath after vigorous activity, are almost unnoticeable. So, by the time a doctor diagnoses asbestosis, the condition may be almost untreatable.
- Mesothelioma: This aggressive and rare heart/lung cancer has similar properties to asbestosis. Asbestos-related tumors which develop in the meso lining between the lungs and the heart are very difficult to detect. When a doctor finally identifies this cancer, the disease is so advanced that most treatments are largely ineffective.
- Ovarian Cancer: Researchers who conducted an exhaustive study of the asbestos-ovarian cancer connection claimed this illness be classified alongside lung cancer, in terms of risk. Asbestos also radically increased the already-high ovarian cancer mortality rate.
The statute of limitations, which is usually four years in contract cases, may not protect homeowners who knowingly sell asbestos-laced homes. Legally, asbestos exposure victims are not obligated to file claims until they know the full extent of their injuries. As mentioned, that realization usually doesn’t come for several years, or even longer.
These and other asbestos-related illnesses are often fatal. Therefore, homeowners could be liable for a substantial amount of damages.
How to Conduct an (Almost) Free Asbestos Test
Many commercial over-the-counter asbestos tests are available at local retailers. Or, you can perform a test on your own.
Start by selecting a test location. Corners and other areas that aren’t cleaned very frequently are often ideal, since asbestos could be in the dust.
Before you extract a sample, wear a complete set of protective clothes. None of the skin on your face, hands, or anywhere else should be exposed to the air. Dispose of all these clothes, including your shoes or shoe coverings, after the test.
When you get ready to cut a 5 gram sample (five grams is a little more than a teaspoon), mist the air and the wall or floor with lots of water, to help ensure that no asbestos-laced dust escapes. Whatever you do, don’t touch the sample you cut out of the wall, floor, or siding. Instead, use a pair of pliers to put the sample in a ziplock baggie. Finally, thoroughly clean the area and throw away all cleaning supplies.
Click here to find a certified asbestos testing laboratory. Results may take up to three weeks, so plan ahead. You can skip the laboratory name/LVAP lab code field.
What To Do About Potential Asbestos Exposure
If you believe you may have disturbed asbestos in a home, office, or other structure, you should immediately contact your local health authority. Most states and cities offer asbestos testing services and maintain public lists of licensed asbestos removal companies. Many also offer free asbestos testing.
Some businesses will also be able to conduct air quality tests to see if the asbestos fibers have scattered to or contaminated any surrounding sites.
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.
AsbestosClaims.law 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 (833) 4-ASBESTOS (427-2378) or (206) 455-9190.