We recently met a woman in Raleigh who purchased an older home to renovate and remodel. After the remodeling project was complete, one of her neighbors came by the house to admire the work and innocently asked, “So what did you do about the asbestos?” She did not realize her home was built with asbestos-laden products. Once disturbed, asbestos poses very dangerous health threats to occupants.
Fortunately, she learned about the asbestos before she began living the home. Unfortunately, the asbestos abatement project becomes much more extensive when the product is agitated.
What is Asbestos?
A naturally occurring mineral, asbestos is very resistant to fire and heat and was used widely in home construction from the late 1800s through the early 1980s. By the 1970s it became clear that prolonged exposure to asbestos had adverse health effects; therefore, most builders stopped using it by 1980. However, in the Raleigh area, a fifth of the homes currently on the market were built in the 1980s or earlier.
Health Concerns and Asbestos
Specifically, health concerns linked to asbestos exposure include:
- Asbestosis: an incurable chronic lung disease that leads to prolonged breathing issues.
- Mesothelioma: a rare cancer that develops on the lining that protects the lungs or abdomen.
- Lung Cancer: though most commonly associated with smoking, asbestos exposure can increase the risk of lung cancer.
When Asbestos Becomes Dangerous
Asbestos is generally safe as long as the product containing it remains intact. However, when a home is remodeled or damaged by a natural disaster, asbestos abatement will be necessary to prevent exposure. Removing popcorn ceiling is a tempting do-it-yourself project; however, with homes built in the 1980s or earlier, it is dangerous and can ultimately become very expensive to perform renovations or repairs without first calling asbestos removal professionals.
When asbestos abatement contractors like Remtech become involved in a project, by law we are required to send suspicious products to a certified lab for assessment. After we have corrected the issue, a certified inspector is required to clear it before the owners can return.
Asbestos removal is not a DIY project. To learn more about asbestos and asbestos abatement, contact us.