Cancer-causing asbestos fibers were used in thousands of products, and many were sold for home use. If you unsafely remove or tamper with asbestos products while you renovate your home, it creates a risk that you, others working on the project, and those living in your home will be exposed to asbestos fibers.
Why is Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos is a mineral fiber. It was used in products because fibers are strong, durable, and resistant to heat, fire, electricity, and chemicals. When fibers are released into the air, they can be inhaled or swallowed.
Your body probably won’t be able to remove or destroy all of the fibers, many of which will remain in your body for the rest of your life. Over years or decades, they may cause inflammation, genetic changes to surrounding tissue, and cancer (including mesothelioma).
What Asbestos-Containing Products Were Used in Homes?
Asbestos-containing products have been used for thousands of years. They became increasingly popular during the Industrial Revolution, and their use in homes exploded during the post-World War II building boom. Any residence constructed before the mid-1980s may have asbestos products in it.
Some of them include:
- Roofing shingles
- Siding panels
- Corrugated sheets
- Wallboard and cement sheets
- Vermiculite insulation (some vermiculite deposits were contaminated with asbestos)
- Asbestos insulation around pipes, boilers, and ducts
- Loose-fill attic insulation
- Vinyl floor tiles and the adhesive used to install them
- Linoleum flooring
- Backing for vinyl sheet flooring
- Asbestos paper, cloth, and tape
- Acoustic ceiling tiles
How Do I Know If Something Has Asbestos?
Your best option is to work with a reputable asbestos abatement contractor. They can test materials to determine if asbestos is present. If so, they can advise you on the best approaches to handle them.
What Dangers Are Posed by Asbestos Products in the Home?
The danger is minimal as long as the product is intact, not deteriorating or shedding asbestos fibers. If it’s in this state, the best advice might be to seal it up (or encapsulate it) and leave it alone. If it’s part of a system or in a location impacted by your renovation plans, you may be best served by having it professionally removed and properly disposed of.
If you or a contractor tear or pull out the material without sufficient precautions, asbestos fibers will be released into the air, which is not what you want. Some of the problems that may result include:
- Inhaling or Swallowing of Asbestos Fibers:Asbestos fibers are incredibly light and microscopic. Inhaling these fibers can lead to various potentially deadly diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma
- Health Risks to Occupants and Workers:Those involved in the removal and living in your home will be at risk of asbestos exposure. Because fibers are so small and light, they may travel far from where the removal took place, potentially contaminating any space in your home
- Contaminating the Environment:Fibers may end up outside your home, into the environment, and potentially into neighbors’ homes. This can persist for a long time, posing risks to anyone in the area
- Legal Consequences:Removing asbestos without following the proper regulations and guidelines may lead to legal consequences. Many jurisdictions have strict rules regarding asbestos removal, and failure to comply can result in fines and other penalties
Asbestos in your home is a manageable risk, depending on how much is present, whether it’s intact, and if it’s handled properly.
Why Should I Hire an Asbestos Abatement Contractor Before Starting Renovations?
Some benefits of hiring a reputable asbestos abatement contractor include:
- Expertise and Training: Asbestos abatement professionals have the training, expertise, and experience to safely identify and handle asbestos-containing materials. They are familiar with the proper removal, containment, and disposal procedures. Are you?
- Proper Equipment and Techniques: Asbestos abatement requires specialized equipment and techniques to minimize the release of fibers. Professional abatement companies have access to the necessary tools and follow industry best practices to ensure effective removal and containment. Would you?
- Risk Reduction: Do-it-yourself asbestos removal poses a significant risk of exposure to asbestos fibers. Professionals use controlled methods, including wetting materials, sealing off work areas, and employing proper ventilation to reduce the risk of fiber release and contamination. What techniques would you use?
- Thorough Inspection: Asbestos abatement companies typically conduct thorough inspections to identify all asbestos-containing materials in the home. This helps ensure that all sources of asbestos are correctly addressed during removal. Would you do this?
- Proper Disposal: Disposing of asbestos-containing materials requires compliance with specific disposal regulations. Abatement professionals are familiar with these requirements and ensure that materials are disposed of in an approved and lawful manner. Would you just put asbestos in the trash?
- Insurance Coverage: Many professional asbestos abatement companies carry insurance coverage, providing additional protection in case of accidents or unforeseen issues during the removal process. Would your homeowner’s policy cover you if you illegally remove asbestos from your home?
- Efficiency and Timeliness: Professionals are trained to complete asbestos removal efficiently while maintaining high safety standards. Attempting to remove asbestos without proper training and equipment can lead to delays, mistakes, and increased risks. How long would it take you to remove the asbestos in your home?
- Peace of Mind: Hiring a licensed and trustworthy asbestos abatement company gives you peace of mind that the job will be done safely, thoroughly, and in compliance with regulations. Will you have second thoughts about removing asbestos from your home after you’re covered in cancer-causing fibers and they float in the air throughout your home?
If you use a contractor to test material, you may find it doesn’t have asbestos. If it does, hiring an asbestos abatement contractor who can handle this job properly may be expensive. But the cost may be far less than the consequences of doing this yourself or hiring someone to deal with the situation unsafely.
Your Local Mesothelioma Law Firm
If you or a loved one are diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you should understand your rights to compensation for the harm asbestos causes.
Experienced Satterley & Kelley’s, PLLC, asbestos injury lawyers can discuss your situation and help you recover damages to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering you’ve endured. To schedule a free initial consultation at our Louisville office, call us toll-free at 855-385-9532 or complete our contact form today.