If your home was built prior to 1980, there is a good chance that it once contained asbestos — and it may still be there today. In fact, many building materials used to contain significant amounts of asbestos, including various types of insulation, roofing and siding shingles, ceiling/floor/vinyl tiles, cement board and pipe wrap, just to name a few.
Given the dangers associated with asbestos — and the serious medical conditions it may cause — homeowners need to be careful if they are considering a home remodel or simply suspect their home may contain this hazardous material. With this in mind, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided the following do’s and don’ts to help keep you safe:
- Leave asbestos-containing materials alone and take every precaution necessary to avoid damaging or disturbing any material you may think may contain asbestos.
- Stay away from or keep activities to a minimum in any area you suspect may have damaged asbestos.
- Limit your children’s access to any area or materials that may contain asbestos.
- Have a professional handle any asbestos removal or major repair work.
- Don’t scrape, saw, sand or drill holes in any material you suspect contains asbestos.
- Don’t sweep, dust or vacuum any debris that might contain asbestos.
- Don’t try to level or sand asbestos flooring. If you need new flooring, you may want to consider installing it over the current asbestos flooring.
- Do not use any powers strippers to strip wax from asbestos flooring.
Sadly, there is no way to guarantee your safety when it comes to asbestos. Even if you follow the tips mentioned above, you may still be exposed. Therefore, you should always contact an asbestos removal professional if you even suspect there is asbestos in your home.
However, if you have already developed a serious asbestos-related medical condition, there is another professional you should contact right away: an experienced attorney. As skilled asbestos lawyer can explain your rights and help ensure companies that used asbestos are held accountable for their actions.