Where are Asbestos-Containing Materials Found Decades after Installation?
Because of its effective insulating and fire-resisting properties, asbestos was widely used throughout America for much of the 20th century in several applications in businesses and homes. Although research showed adverse health reactions to asbestos materials as early as the 1940s, asbestos was installed in countless buildings, ships and homes well into the 1970s. The concern now is that a huge body of medical research has shown that exposure to dust and fibers emitted from asbestos-containing materials is the primary cause of mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Because of the numerous products that used asbestos, it can be found almost anywhere in a house, including the attic, basement, kitchen, garage, and even the exterior frame. Buildings constructed before 1980 contain asbestos materials in the flooring, walls and ceilings, roofing, siding, and insulation. Other common areas asbestos where asbestos can be found in older buildings include:
- Heating ducts
- Water pipes and insulation sheeting
- Pipe cement
- Furnace insulation
- Cement sheeting surrounding wood-burning stoves
- Water heaters
- Patching compounds for wall joints
- Ceiling tiles
- Ceramic or vinyl floor tiles
- Textured paints
- Flooring adhesives
- Room soundproofing
- Acoustical tiles
- Artificial coals and embers in gas fireplaces
- Spray-on acoustical ceilings
- Roof shingles
- Roofing felt
- Undersheeting for siding and decks
- Window putty
- Electrical Components
Asbestos Risk to Workers & Homeowners
Asbestos is a known health hazard when it becomes airborne. When asbestos deteriorates or is damaged, asbestos fibers may be released and inhaled into the lungs and cause serious health problems. Asbestos is regularly a hazard during renovations and proper precautions are not taken by contractors or maintenance crews. Materials containing asbestos may release fibers when they are drilled or patched. If asbestos ceilings are in poor condition, mere air movement can disseminate asbestos dust.
Asbestos piping is another concern, and water contamination can lead to major public health issues. Transite pipes, made of an asbestos-containing cement material, deteriorates over time and potentially deadly asbestos fibers can be released into drinking water.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio personal injury lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of toxic tort and mesothelioma claims. Contact an experienced attorney if a family member developed a deadly disease from asbestos exposure.
Locating Asbestos at the Workplace or Home
To the untrained eye, it may be impossible to identify an asbestos product unless labeling indicates a known asbestos name brand. Even taking normal precautions, a visual inspection of a building structure is not sufficient to determine if it contains asbestos. Rather, abatement professionals should contacted and samples of suspected asbestos fibers should be sent to a laboratory for confirmation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlines how to collect material samples that may contain asbestos, but the American Lung Association recommends hiring a certified asbestos professional.
Asbestos Exposure Disease & Illness
Handling Asbestos-Containing Materials
If asbestos is found in a house or business, certain factors will determine how to deal with the problem, including where the asbestos is found, the condition of the materials, and whether it is friable—friable asbestos is easily broken down and reduced to a fine airborne powder. Non-friable asbestos is bound with other materials and unlikely to be made airborne unless it is disturbed, sanded, cut, or sawed.
If the asbestos-containing materials in question are in good condition and contained, they may not present a health danger. In other cases, asbestos-containing materials may be repaired or isolated rather than removed. Asbestos material can be isolated from potential damage by using specific airtight barriers. Another solution may be using encapsulants over spray-on asbestos materials on walls and ceilings. Encapsulants are materials applied in liquid form to provide a seal against the release of asbestos fibers.
Asbestos removal is the only permanent solution. However, asbestos removal poses a risk of fiber release if not done correctly. During and after any removal process, air samples should be taken. An abatement contractor should be using specialized vacuums, approved respirators, and protective clothing.
When asbestos is repaired or removed from your home or business, make certain that the professional you hire has completed a federal or state-approved asbestos safety course. Contact a regional EPA office or local health department for recommended professionals in your area.
If a loved one has suffered or died as a result of an asbestos-related illness, and have questions about the legal remedies available in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.