Homes built prior to the 1970s may have been constructed with asbestos products such as flooring, insulation, roof shingles, decorative paint and many more. This is important to know upfront, especially if you plan on renovating your home.
If you suspect you have asbestos in your home when remodeling or making major changes that could disturb the asbestos fibers, you should hire an asbestos professional. This individual is trained to properly handle and remove products made with asbestos to ensure the fibers are not distributed throughout your home. If the asbestos particles are disturbed and become airborne, they can be inhaled by yourself and your family and can raise risk of mesothelioma.
There are two main types of asbestos professionals: asbestos inspectors and asbestos contractors. Asbestos inspectors assess a home or building for its condition and test samples to determine the presence of asbestos. Asbestos contractors, however, repair and remove asbestos materials. If an asbestos inspector tests your home and detects asbestos, they can put you in touch with a proper asbestos contractor.
It is important to note that federal law does not require asbestos inspectors or contractors to be trained and accredited. However, some states do require these standards. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends homeowners hire workers who are professionally trained and accredited for the safest inspection, removal and repair of asbestos.
The following are tips homeowners should take into consideration when hiring asbestos professionals:
- Make sure an inspection includes visual examination and the collection of materials for testing.
- If the inspection reveals the presence of asbestos, make sure to obtain a written evaluation describing its location and extent of damage from the asbestos inspector.
- Get a written contract before removal or repair begins. Make sure it covers work plan, cleanup and any federal or state regulations the asbestos contractor should follow.
- At the end of the job, get written assurance from the contractor that they followed all necessary procedures.
Many states have their own asbestos programs which contain updated listings of accredited professionals. This list from the EPA has contact information for asbestos professionals by state. Make sure your family is protected from the dangers of asbestos exposure by properly hiring asbestos professionals when renovating or repairing your home.