We often discuss the steps individuals can take to prevent asbestos exposure in their own homes, from hiring qualified abatement professionals to wearing protective gear if there is a risk of exposure.
However, not everyone has this much control when removing asbestos or asbestos-containing products. Such could be the case if you rent your home or apartment and your landlord is having work done. Under these circumstances, you can protect yourself by watching out for some red flags.
Lack of notice
Landlords should provide a habitable environment for tenants, including repairing or removing hazardous conditions. If asbestos poses a threat at any point, the landlord should take steps to protect tenants.
Providing notice is one way to do this.
Landlords can protect tenants by disclosing potential threats, specifying repair liabilities and expectations in the lease, and notifying residents of any significant construction work that could disturb toxic materials. If you suspect there is a risk of asbestos exposure in your building, a lack of notice can be a significant red flag.
Poor protective barriers
Parties must take great care to secure the area when construction, demolition or renovation work could result in the release of asbestos fibers. Measures include creating physical barriers and restricting access.
There should also be signage alerting others to the presence of potential hazards.
If these barriers are not in place or are inadequate and regularly skirted, this should be a red flag that parties are not complying with state or federal regulations.
Responsible landlords will typically hire accredited asbestos contractors to remove or remediate hazardous materials.
If you see that they are attempting to do work themselves or have hired people who do not appear to be complying with basic safe handling practices, that can be a very real cause for concern.
While you may not be able to directly prevent harmful situations or practices when someone else is in charge of your property, you can watch for these red flags and report any suspected wrongdoing or negligence that put your health at risk.