There is a common misconception that asbestos is no longer a problem or that it is only a concern in older houses. In fact, there are thousands of asbestos-containing products — ranging from floor tiles and roofing tar to plaster and joint compounds — that are still in use today. The following are answers to some of the most common questions that we receive regarding asbestos and asbestos removal.
Q: What exactly is asbestos?
A: Asbestos is a fibrous, heat-resistant mineral that occurs naturally in certain rocks and soil. The strength of the fibers and their ability to withstand high temperatures made asbestos a popular component in everything from construction materials to firefighting gear for many years. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed limits on the use of asbestos starting in 1989 because of the link between the material and serious health conditions.
Q: Do I have to worry about asbestos if I live in a newer home?
A: According to the EPA, asbestos use in rollboard, corrugated paper, specialty paper, commercial paper, and flooring felt is prohibited, along with new uses of asbestos. Other asbestos-containing products, however, can still be imported, manufactured, processed, or distributed in the United States. While you are most likely to encounter asbestos in an older home, it is still possible for there to be asbestos-containing materials in a home built after 1989.
Q: Why is asbestos dangerous?
A: Certain asbestos-containing products are considered “friable.” This means that they easily turn into a powder that can easily become airborne when disturbed or damaged. When inhaled, these particles can become lodged in the lungs, which can lead to serious diseases. In some cases, these illnesses do not become apparent until years or even decades after the exposure.
Q: What health conditions are related to asbestos exposure?
A: The most common health conditions related to asbestos exposure include:
- Lung cancer
- Asbestosis: a progressive lung disease
- Mesothelioma: a rare cancer of the lining of the lungs and other internal organs
Q: How can I tell if there is asbestos in my home?
A: One of the easiest ways to determine if you have asbestos in your home is to contact a professional asbestos abatement service. The company can test the air quality and take samples of suspicious materials for further analysis.
Q: What should I do if I have asbestos in my home?
A: The first step is to contact an asbestos abatement company. If the material is in good condition and unlikely to be disturbed, it may be possible to leave it in place. If the asbestos-containing material is damaged or likely to become airborne, the abatement company can implement the appropriate remediation measures. We do not recommend that homeowners attempt asbestos removal on their own. A licensed remediation company will have the necessary equipment to remove and dispose of the materials safely.
Q: Do I have to disclose the presence of asbestos when I sell my home?
A: Disclosure is not required under federal law; however, it may be necessary under state or local law depending on where you live.
Each asbestos removal has unique concerns, and therefore, you should turn to asbestos removal Los Angeles CA can trust.
If, however, you think you or a loved one has been injured by improperly removed asbestos, or long term asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer today.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Nielsen Environmental for their insight into asbestos cases and asbestos abatement