Asbestos exposure can lead to deadly respiratory conditions, including mesothelioma. Asbestos was widely used in construction and manufacturing until the 1970s, when the link between asbestos and serious health problems was established. Though it has been decades since asbestos was banned for most uses, people may still encounter it in some products and buildings, even in their homes.
While a widespread ban in 1989 prohibited the use of asbestos in new construction, homes built before that year may still contain asbestos. This includes a large proportion of homes in the United States; a 2019 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that more than half of the houses in the country were built before 1980, making it highly likely that they contain asbestos. Buying an existing house is much more common than building from scratch, so while a house may feel new to recent buyers, there may be old hazards hiding in plain sight. It is important to keep in mind that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
When is Asbestos Dangerous?
When asbestos is moved or otherwise disturbed, fibers can become airborne and be inhaled or ingested. Any type of home repair or improvement project in the home can result in airborne asbestos fibers. Homeowners replacing pipes or insulation, drilling through drywall, and removing old flooring can kick up asbestos dust. This is especially dangerous for do-it-yourself repairs, as homeowners may not have the proper protective gear to avoid inhaling asbestos dust.
Damage caused by extreme weather or normal wear and tear can also cause asbestos fibers to become airborne. For example, a storm may cause roof shingles to fall off and break, or a ceiling tile could collapse due to water damage. Asbestos dust looks like any other type of dust, and materials must be tested using a polarized light microscope in order to confirm whether they contain asbestos. It may not be obvious at first that asbestos is present, but homeowners should take precautions just in case.
An accredited asbestos abatement professional should be brought in to safely handle and remove asbestos wherever it is found; even if a homeowner is not sure if it is asbestos, they should not try to handle it themselves and risk exposure. Before beginning a home improvement project in an older home, homeowners should hire a professional to do a thorough inspection. Buyers entering the market should also get an inspection before purchasing an existing house.
Philadelphia Asbestos Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Asbestos Exposure Victims
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related disease, contact the Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Shein Law. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault for your asbestos exposure and hold them accountable. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help asbestos exposure victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 877-743-4652 or contact us online for an initial consultation.