When, Why, and How To Check For Asbestos in Your Home

You've probably read about it in the newspaper. You've probably seen stories about it on TV. You've probably seen all kinds of information about it online.

What are we talking about? Asbestos.

Surely you've heard of it. But do you know when, why, and how to check for it in your home?

When Should You Check for Asbestos in Your Home?

Was your home built before the mid 80s? If so, you should think about getting it tested for asbestos. Between the 1940s and 1980s, asbestos was a commonly used product. It could be found in over 3500 different products, including:

  • Some types of paint
  • Blow-in attic insulation
  • Plaster
  • Roofing material
  • Caulking and glazing for windows
  • Siding material
  • HVAC duct insulation
  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Glue that attached floor tiles to concrete or wood
  • Heavy duty corrugated panels

The fact that your home contains asbestos doesn't necessarily mean you're in urgent danger, as long as the material is in good condition. It’s best to leave the material alone if the fibers have not been damaged in any way.

Unfortunately, with a home getting further and further past the 30 year mark, there's bound to be some damage or wear and tear. Asbestos material is dangerous when it's been damaged over time. Asbestos that breaks apart easily when handled, or if it has been scraped, sawed, or sanded into a powder can release the fibers and cause a health hazard.

Why Should You Check Your Home for Asbestos?

There are four primary health reasons to check for asbestos. Those reasons are mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and diffuse pleural thickening.

Mesothelioma and lung cancer are 2 different types of cancer caused by the same thing: exposure to asbestos.

Asbestosis, a chronic inflammatory and scarring disease that affects the lungs, can lead to mesothelioma or lung cancer. Asbestosis is caused by long-term exposure to asbestos.

Diffuse pleural thickening (DPT), also know as pleural thickening, is a disease that causes scarring and thickening of the pleura. The scarred pleura — a thin membrane which covers the lungs — continues to grow. The growing scar tissue can encase the lung, or lungs, and close off the area between the pleura and the lungs. DPT also comes from asbestos exposure.

How to Check for Asbestos?

Unlike water damage or mold, it's hard to see if you have asbestos in your home. To the untrained eye, asbestos doesn't stand out like water damage does, nor does it give off an unpleasant odor like a mold deposit might. That said, if you think there's even a small chance you have asbestos, you should seek the help of a professional. Make sure they are trained to handle asbestos. Asbestos abatement calls for very particular methods of containing the area, removing materials, and ensuring there's no remaining contamination.

At the end of the day, your home is supposed to be your safe haven; however, if you think you have been exposed to asbestos due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer Memphis TN relies on, today!

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Patterson Bray for their insights into asbestos and personal injury practice.