For over 50 years, we have been living with the knowledge that asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, a aggressive and deadly form of cancer, along with lung cancer and asbestosis. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in manufacturing of a number of products because of its heat resistance properties. The National Cancer Institute has declared that there is no safe levels of asbestos exposure.
Even though we know asbestos can cause deadly cancer and other diseases, it is not outlawed in the United States of America. The EPA has regulated its use beginning in the 1980’s, which means homes and buildings built prior to this date may contain asbestos. Homes built in the early and mid 1900’s are at a higher risk to contain asbestos.
Here are some of the more probable places that asbestos may be found in your home:
• Blown-in attic insulation
• Vinyl floor tiles
• Glue that attaches floor tiles to concrete or wood
• Some forms of linoleum
• Window caulking and glazing
• Roofing material (usually on flat roofs but occasionally on shingles)
• HVAC duct insulation (usually found in corrugated or flat paper form)
• Siding material
• Fiber cement siding (usually 1/8 ” thick and 8’x4′ brittle)
• Corrugated heavy duty 8’x4′ panels
• Some forms of paint
Products and materials in decent condition will generally not release asbestos fibers into the air. You become at risk to exposure when the asbestos material is disturbed. The best advice is to not disturb the asbestos product. Asbestos that crumbles easily or has been sanded, cut or scraped will most likely release microscopic asbestos fibers into the air which could be inhaled.
Steps to remove asbestos from your home:
- Before calling an asbestos abatement contractor, you should contact an industrial hygiene firm to inspect the affected area.
- A proper assessment will include a complete visual examination and careful collection and analysis of samples. If asbestos is present, the inspector should provide a written evaluation describing its location and extent of damage, and give recommendations for correction or prevention.
- With this report in hand, homeowners can then contact an asbestos abatement contractor and negotiate a clean-up plan. Before work begins, get a written contract specifying the work plan, cleanup and the applicable federal, state, and local regulations which the contractor must follow (such as permits, notification requirements and asbestos disposal procedures).
- Contact your state and local health departments, the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regional office to find out more about these regulations.
- Repair involves either sealing or covering asbestos material.
- Homeowners should also ask for a disposal manifest prior to paying the final bill to verify that the material will be disposed of in a landfill licensed to receive asbestos.
- Check with your local air pollution control board, the local agency responsible for worker safety and the Better Business Bureau to see if the firm has had any safety violations. Insist that the contractor use the proper equipment to do the job and that workers wear approved respirators, gloves and other protective clothing.
- At the end of the job, before the contractor removes its containment system, the industrial hygiene specialist who first evaluated the property should return to take air samples to be sure that no asbestos fibers have accidentally escaped.
GET YOUR FREE MESOTHELIOMA PACKAGE!
Let us send you a free and complimentary mesothelioma informational packet. Inside you will find a collection of resources the provide the latest information on mesothelioma and treatments. What’s inside?
- DVD that allows you to relax in front of the TV and learn everything you need to know about mesothelioma, treatments and your legal options.
- Book: 100 Questions & Answers for Mesothelioma This book will answer all of your mesothelioma questions.
- Mesothelioma Brochure providing you a quick overview of the disease and your options.
- Legal Brochure providing you a quick overview of your legal options.
- Quick Facts Sheet providing you dietary information and insurance information.