As the public becomes more informed about the dangers of asbestos in their homes, inspection companies are receiving an increasing number of requests for asbestos assessments. These inspections help homeowners identify which parts of their house contain asbestos and which asbestos products require immediate attention.
Inspectors will typically spend several hours examining a home for older construction materials. They primarily need to look for materials that date back to before the 1980s. These materials are most likely to contain asbestos, since they were made before asbestos regulations were enforced. Some of the most frequently contaminated materials include:
If inspectors come across a material that may contain asbestos, they will take pictures of the area and pull a sample for further inspection. Inspectors should always adhere to safety measures and wear appropriate safety gear while taking samples of potentially asbestos-containing products.
The inspection company does not analyze these materials on their own. Instead, they send them to an accredited laboratory. The laboratory will determine what kind of asbestos is in the product and how high the asbestos content is. They will typically return results to the inspectors within 48 hours.
Asbestos inspections can have several results. Asbestos-containing materials can be categorized as either “friable” or “non-friable.” The non-friable asbestos products are not a health danger. Inspectors should make the homeowner aware that the product contains asbestos and recommend an asbestos label, but they do not need to recommend any abatement procedures if the homeowner does not plan to handle or disturb the material in the future.
However, friable asbestos does pose exposure risks. These products require immediate attention. In some cases, encapsulation is sufficient to prevent the fibers from entering the air. In other cases an abatement company will need to come remove the material. Unless the inspector is also licensed in asbestos abatement, they should leave this to another asbestos professional.
Inspectors will include this information and their recommendations for handling on their survey report. Homeowners should also keep a copy of the inspection results for their own records.
Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with asbestos cancer.