If you’re buying a house and worried about asbestos problems, our technicians at Bio-Clean Environmental Industries serving Colorado and Wyoming, can inspect and test your potential home for asbestos, as well as provide expert abatement if needed. We understand that buying an older home comes with potential drawbacks, that’s why we specialize in peace of mind.
Asbestos is a substance made of minerals mined from the earth. Due to its heat resistance and insulating properties, it was used in countless building products from the 1940s through the 1970s. When buying a house and worried about asbestos problems, look for common areas where it’s found: acoustic ceilings, roofing materials, vinyl flooring, plaster walls, and duct insulation. Before the dangers of asbestos became known, other common building materials containing asbestos included the following items:
- White tape on heating ducts
- Insulation on boiler pipes and boilers
- Vermiculite insulation
- Floor tiles
- Popcorn ceiling texture
- Glues used under flooring
- Acoustic ceiling tiles
- Old asbestos cement siding
If you’re buying a house and worried about asbestos problems because some of these building materials are currently in the home or simply due to its age, Bio-Clean Environmental Industries can conduct asbestos testing so you can make an informed decision about your purchase.
Let’s take a look at the hazards if asbestos is found in the house.
Health Problems from Asbestos
Anthophyllite, crocidolite, tremolite, chrysotile, amosite, and actinolite are types of asbestos that are regulated for health reasons. Asbestos is made up of microscopic bundles of fibers that can become airborne if they are disturbed. When the fibers get into the air, you can inhale them and they can cause dangerous health issues. The higher the concentration of fibers and the longer you are exposed, the greater the risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease.
Asbestosis is a lung disease that results in the scarring of the lungs and reduces lung function. The time between the exposure and the onset of the disease (the latency period) is often 25-40 years. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung and abdominal wall as well as the chest and is caused by asbestos exposure. The latency period is often 15-50 years. If you smoke and you are exposed to asbestos, your chances of getting lung cancer increase dramatically. Asbestos exposure can also cause cancer of the gastrointestinal tract. The latency period for these cancers is often 15-30 years.
Starting in the mid-1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned asbestos because of the dangerous health effects caused by exposure to carcinogenic asbestos fibers. So, if it’s found in your home it should be removed as and by a certified asbestos abatement professional. That’s when you call Bio-Clean.
What if the Asbestos is Undisturbed?
If the asbestos-containing materials in your home are in good condition, they may not pose a health hazard. In that case, you should leave the asbestos alone and monitor its condition. You can also cover over the asbestos to help prevent damage. This type of repair usually involves either sealing or covering the asbestos material to prevent your exposure to any of the fibers. The goal is to keep the asbestos in place.
However, if you are buying a house and worried about asbestos because you plan to renovate or remodel, you will first need to have it removed by someone who is trained and certified in asbestos abatement. You should not start any work until this has been completed.
If removal becomes necessary, you may need to leave the home until the asbestos is removed. Often the part of the building with asbestos has to be sealed off to prevent contamination. This is a complex process, so it’s best to know upfront if the home you want to buy has asbestos, if it has been damaged or is contained, and what asbestos removal would look like for you.
If you’re buying a house and worried about asbestos, you will need to hire a professional to perform proper testing of the house. Our technicians at Bio-Clean Environmental Industries will follow a thorough testing protocol and take samples from many places in the home. If asbestos is found, you can decide if it is not a risk you want to take, or we can talk to you about what the asbestos abatement process would look like to make the home safe again.
If you are considering buying a house that was built before 1980, you should assume that it may contain some asbestos. If you don’t want to do any renovations and the asbestos is contained, then the exposure risk is lower. However, if you love the house and want to make renovations, we can make a plan to help you remove the asbestos.
Unless your home inspector is also certified for asbestos testing, which is rare, you will need to have a separate asbestos inspection done. If your home inspector mentions in their report that the building materials of a house are “likely to contain asbestos,” that is simply an observation and is not usually based on any testing. You need complete asbestos testing to know the actual status of the asbestos in the home. Of course, you will need permission from the current homeowner to test for asbestos because it will involve taking testing samples from the home.
The last thing you want to do is buy a home without knowing if there is asbestos in it and if it is an immediate health hazard. So, if you’re buying a house and worried about asbestos, our team of experts at Bio-Clean Environmental Industries, serving Colorado and Wyoming, can get you the information you need to make the right home buying decision for you by inspecting and testing the potential home. Only asbestos removal professionals can truly do the job correctly. If asbestos is found but you love the house, we can help you get rid of the asbestos safely.