4 Seasons Home Inspection, LLC

TOLL FREE: (877) 547-7383

 
4 Seasons Home Inspection, LLC

 
Linda S. Geczi, MS, ENG.
Home Inspector
LIC. #24GI00061500




Asbestos FAQ

Asbestos Frequently Asked Questions

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.

How can asbestos affect my health?

From studies of people who were exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards, we know that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer.

Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop health problems. However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibers can remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of disease.

Asbestos material crumbles easily and if  handled  by scraping, sawing, or sanding, it causes dusting, and may create a health hazard.

Where can I find asbestos and when can it be a problem?

Most products made today do not contain asbestos. Those few products made which still contain asbestos that could be inhaled are required to be labeled as such. However, until the  mid 1980’s many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos.

The following are just some of the materials in the home that can contain asbestos: Popcorn Acoustical Ceiling, Soundproofing, Acoustical Ceiling Tile, Attic insulation, Vermiculite, Duct Tape, Hot water or steam Pipe Insulation, Thermal Insulation (blow-in, bat, or spray-on), Electric Wire Insulation, Vinyl Floor Tile, Linoleum Sheet Flooring, Floor Tile Mastic, Wallboard Mud, Plaster Skim Coat, Wallboard (rare), Siding, Municipal Water or Sewer Pipes, Roll-On Roofing, Window Glazing, Woodstove, Furnace, or Oven Door Gaskets, Fireproofing, Grout

As indicated in the list, there are many materials that can contain asbestos in a home built before the ban on their manufacture. Some materials in homes built after the ban can contain asbestos because inventories of the materials were still used into the 1980s.

What should be done about asbestos in the home?

If you think asbestos may be in your home, don't panic! Usually the best thing is to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone, since material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers. There is no danger unless fibers are released and inhaled into the lungs. It is recommended to have an asbestos professional evaluate the condition and advise on course of action.  In most cases it is encapsulated or removed by a qualified professional.

If asbestos material is damaged or you plan renovations or upgrades that might disturb it; you will require a professional for repair, encapsulation or  removal.

Asbestos professionals are qualified and highly trained in handling asbestos material. Do not attempt to remediate or encapsulate asbestos yourself due to potential health hazards.

The federal government has training courses for asbestos professionals around the country. Some state and local governments also have or require training or certification courses. Ask asbestos professionals to document their completion of federal or state-approved training. Each person performing work in your home should provide proof of training and licensing in asbestos work, such as completion of EPA-approved training. State and local health departments or EPA regional offices may have listings of licensed professionals in your area.

For more information, see the EPA's Asbestos Information Resources. and Asbestos.com.

Adapted information provided by the Environmental Protection Agency for educational purposes.