Buying A Home? Understanding And Diagnosing An Asbestos Problem

From hiring a real estate agent and securing financing to searching through listings and navigating the process of making offers and dealing with closing issues, it is easy to see the stressful nature of becoming a homeowner. Unfortunately, finding a home that is a good investment requires proper understanding, especially if you are considering an older home that contains asbestos. While surprising to learn, exposure to asbestos has been linked to 107,000 deaths throughout the world. If you are considering a specific home, understanding the dangers and signs of asbestos is imperative. This guide can help you avoid buying a home with asbestos.

Dangers of Asbestos

Even if it is located in the paint, drywall, tiles, or other areas of the home, you may inhale asbestos without even realizing it. When inhaled, the asbestos fibers can become trapped inside the nose and throat. Eventually, the fibers will make their way into the lungs when inhaled. In addition, the fibers can be swallowed when they are in the air, eventually affecting the digestive tract.

If you are exposed to asbestos, you may experience a few different symptoms. For example, you may develop breathing difficulties, allergy symptoms, and skin rashes. Long-term exposure will lead to a few serious medical conditions, such as lung cancer.

Mesothelioma is also common when exposed to asbestos. This disorder is a rare type of cancer that affects the thin lining of the lungs, stomach, chest, abdomen, or even the heart in some cases.

Asbestosis is another disease that affects individuals exposed to asbestos frequently. Even though it is not a form of cancer, asbestosis causes severe inflammation and scarring in the lung tissue. Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath and an actual cracking sound when inhaling.

Diagnosing Asbestos

If you are experiencing any medical issues related to asbestos, consult your doctor for more involved testing. However, you can prevent asbestos disorders by knowing if a property contains asbestos.

Even though you cannot see asbestos, you can figure out if a home or property has it.

If you are living in or considering a home that is 20 years of age or older, asbestos may be a problem. Asbestos may be located in paint or flooring tiles. It is also common in roofing products. If you suspect asbestos, invest in a designated substance survey on the home.

Also known as a DSS, this inspection not only checks the property for asbestos, but it will also help you determine if the home has lead, silica, arsenic, mercury, benzene, and a variety of other toxic chemicals and dangers that affect your home and health.

If you suspect asbestos or the designated substance survey shows the presence of asbestos, use precaution. Do not disturb the areas of the property that show the presence of asbestos since removal of the material could increase the risk of your inhalation or ingestion.

In most cases, you may want to avoid purchasing a home that is known to have asbestos. However, if you feel the home is still worthy of purchasing, work with professionals who offer asbestos removal before occupying the property.

Verify your local laws before hiring an asbestos specialist. Certain provinces do require professionals to have a license/certification. Even if your province does not require licenses, make sure the contractor you choose has experience and understanding with Canadian regulations.

After treatment, invest in a new designated substance survey to ensure the property is free of asbestos and finally inhabitable.

Help is available if you are concerned about the risk of asbestos. This guide and your DSS will help you determine if a property is a safe and smart investment.