How to test your home for asbestos
If you live in an older home, you may want to consider asbestos testing. Prior to the 1980s, asbestos was an extremely common building material. Valued for its flame retardant properties, asbestos was also an affordable source of inexpensive insulation. Older homes—particularly those built during the mid 20th century—may have a variety of asbestos-containing materials, including ceiling and floor tiles, siding, pipe insulation, “popcorn” ceilings, drywall and patio materials. Although the prospect of toxic materials in your home can seem frightening, in many cases asbestos is best left alone. If you suspect that products in your home may contain asbestos, contact a licensed asbestos inspector in your area for testing.
Tip: Asbestos May be Best Left Alone
Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is friable, which means that it crumbles easily to the touch. When disturbed, friable asbestos fibers may become airborne and lodge in the lungs, causing lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other illnesses. Did you know there’s a big difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer? Learn more at mesothelioma.net
Not every asbestos-containing material in your home necessarily poses a health risk, if they remain intact. The US Consumer Products Safety Commission strongly recommends leaving asbestos materials in your home alone, unless they are in poor condition. If the suspect material is in good condition and not flaking or crumbling, your best course of action may be to leave it alone or hire an asbestos contractor to encapsulate it so that it no longer poses a threat.
Tip: Do it Yourself Asbestos Testing is NOT Recommended
If you are concerned that materials in your home may pose a health risk, testing them yourself may not be the best idea. Sampling a product for testing may create a hazard where none existed previously. Because taking a sample necessitates disturbing the material, the safest way to test your home for asbestos is to locate a licensed asbestos inspector in your area.
The American Lung Association cautions that asbestos should not be handled, sampled, removed or repaired by anyone other than a qualified professional. Testing should be performed by a firm that does not provide asbestos abatement services, in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest.
Do it yourself asbestos sampling is not recommended, however should you decide to take your own sample, many asbestos testing laboratories offer the option of mailing it in. Home improvement stores also sell asbestos testing kits that contain everything you need to take sample suspect materials, provided you carefully follow all safety precautions provided with the kit. Expect that laboratory testing will cost $20-$40 in addition to the cost of purchasing the sampling kit.
We recommend searching for a professional asbestos testing laboratory near you.
Help is Available for Asbestos Victims
The cancer risks associated with asbestos exposure were well understood by the early decades of the 20th century. Unfortunately, construction product manufacturers continued to make use of friable asbestos-containing materials for many decades, exposing countless homeowners and their families to unnecessary risk.
If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma, you may be eligible for legal compensation. Contact a professional asbestos litigation firm today, to discuss your options. With decades of experience helping asbestos victims and their families, Bergman Draper Oslund is here to help. Call today.