For people who own their home as well as those who rent an apartment, home remodeling and improvement projects can eat up a huge amount of both time and money. While doing these types of projects can dramatically improve the comfort, style, and efficiency of where you live, there are precautions you should take to ensure your health and safety are protected. Among the dangerous situations you could potentially find yourself facing is the presence of asbestos. Used in paint supplies and on walls and ceilings, exposure to asbestos can result in injuries and illness that have severe ramifications, both now and in the future. The following is important information about how to identify asbestos in your home, as well as what to do if you suspect you or your loved ones have been exposed.
According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), asbestos is a mineral fiber that was commonly used in buildings throughout the 20th century. Its use began to decline during the 1980s as people became more aware of the dangers and more effective materials become available, but there are still products being sold and used today which contain potentially dangerous amounts. The DEQ advises that if your home was built prior to 2004, there is a strong likelihood that asbestos could be hiding somewhere within your home. According to asbestos fact sheets from the DEQ, there are two types of asbestos containing materials:
- Friable asbestos, which releases asbestos fibers when crushed or crumbled. This type of asbestos is commonly found in insulation on pipes and ductwork, in sheet vinyl flooring, and ceiling texture and soundproofing materials.
- Non-friable asbestos, which has binders that hold asbestos fibers together, preventing them from being released as easily as with friable asbestos. Examples include vinyl floor tiles, water pipes, and cement siding, roofing, or paneling.
There is no easy way to identify asbestos without having the proper testing conducted. If you are buying a home, an asbestos survey should be done as part of the buying process. If you are undertaking renovations or remodeling, hire a contractor or an asbestos removal specialist to help you identify and correct the problem.
What To Do About Asbestos in Your Home
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that while the mere presence of asbestos in and of itself does not pose inherent health risks, problems can arise if the asbestos containing materials are disturbed or damaged in any way. The main danger with asbestos comes from breathing in the fibers, which can lead to respiratory problem, including the following types of lung cancer:
- Mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity;
- Asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred as the result of fibrous tissues.
The CPSC advises that if you suspect materials in your home contain asbestos, do not touch theses surfaces, restrict access to the areas, and have your home inspected immediately. If the asbestos poses a threat, there are special procedures that must be followed for its removal. Once removed the materials can then be replaced with non-asbestos substances. If the materials cannot be removed, protective sealer or containment wraps may be used to minimize the danger.
Reach Out to Us for Help from Our Skilled Mesothelioma Attorney
If you or someone you care about is suffering adverse effects as the result of exposure to asbestos, contact our experienced Portland asbestos lawyer for help today. At the Johnston Law Firm, we understand the serious damages that can result from asbestos exposures, and the impacts it can have on your entire family. We can advise you on how to hold negligent home sellers, landlords, and product manufacturers responsible for the losses you have suffered, and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.