Health Concerns - Asbestos Insulation
Asbestos Insulation photos: P 185-P 189
Some readers of this book may not be interested in learning very in-depth information about health concerns. They may only be interested in getting a general working knowledge of health concern topics. For those readers, I would recommend that you read the first two sections titled Asbestos Insulation and Radon Gas. Those are the sections I wrote completely from my own personal experience and knowledge from being involved in real estate for many years. The health concerns sections that have the DOE and EPA research get into more in-depth details about each topic. If you are only interested in learning the basics, then don't get too caught up in trying to memorize the in-depth details discussed in the DOE and EPA health concerns sections. Choose the health concern topics that you feel are most useful to you for now, and then you can learn the more in-depth topics later if needed.
Some readers of this book may not be interested in learning very in-depth information about health concerns. They may only be interested in getting a general working knowledge of health concern topics. For those readers, I would recommend that you read the first two sections titled Asbestos Insulation and Radon Gas. Those are the sections I wrote completely from my own personal experience and knowledge from being involved in real estate for many years.
Note: Some of the information contained in different sections of these Health Concerns chapters are similar. This is because there are many important aspects that pertain to both sections discussed. I hope you don't feel that the information is redundant in those sections. It will only benefit you to read it several times to make sure you know the information well enough so it doesn't cost you time and money later. Also, some of the graphics in this book are low-resolution images from the DOE and EPA web sites that do not have perfect clarity. I apologize if any of the graphics or images are a little grainy and not perfectly clear. The DOE and EPA did not have high-resolution images for some of the graphics. Since my books are all self-edited and self-published, I do the best I can with the time and resources I have available.
Asbestos Insulation photos: P 185-P 189
Asbestos has been used for insulation as far back in time as ancient Greece. Almost all older houses have had asbestos insulation on the heating pipes. A thin layer of asbestos can sometimes be found on old hot air ducts if there is a furnace. Old cast iron boilers had asbestos on the interior insulating walls as well. Believe it or not, years ago asbestos was required to be installed in all new construction. That's why so many buildings have asbestos in them. It was considered a "miracle product" when it was widely used. (Yeah, it performs miracles with your health!) Many floors tiles and other products found in older homes have asbestos in them.
Asbestos causes lung cancer when it comes loose from the pipes and the fibers get into the air. The asbestos fibers are like tiny daggers and when you breathe them in, they stick into your lungs.
Asbestos has great insulating and fireproofing qualities, the only problem is the public wasn't made aware of the health problems with it until it was too late. This is one area you have to be careful about. Asbestos really scares potential home buyers because of the health concerns with it. Asbestos causes lung cancer when it comes loose from the pipes, floor tiles, etc. and the fibers get into the air. The asbestos fibers are like tiny daggers and when you breathe them in, they stick into your lungs and stay there. The fibers cling to dust and can be stirred up off the floor when someone walks in a room where the fibers are located. There are about five different diseases related to exposure to asbestos. There are six different types of asbestos minerals.
I did an inspection once for an attorney who handled a lawsuit filed by the relatives of residents of a small town in Australia. This attorney told me that every resident from that town was killed due to the Blue Asbestos mine that most of them worked at. Supposedly Blue Asbestos is the most dangerous type of asbestos to be exposed to. Just by getting one fiber in your lungs can be fatal!!! Just one fiber will not only create scar tissue in that section of the lung, but it will spread to cover the entire lung over time. This attorney told me that all of the workers in the mine were killed due to breathing the Blue Asbestos at work. Their families were all killed because the mine workers would bring home the fibers in their clothes which would spread in their homes. Also, the rest of the people in this town were killed due to the Blue Asbestos fibers being blown around by the wind.
An asbestos lab technician told me that Steve McQueen died of an asbestos related cancer. Supposedly Steve McQueen worked in the French Merchant Marine when he was younger and that's where he was overly exposed to asbestos. I'm not telling you these stories to try to scare you, I'm just letting you know about some potential health hazards you have to watch out for.
Asbestos pipe insulation usually has a white color and appears to have layers of ribbed cardboard in the middle sections. You'll probably see an off-white canvas covering over it. Old hot air heating ducts may have a very thin, white layer of asbestos around them. The only way to know for sure if any insulation is asbestos is to have a laboratory take a sample. You can charge an additional fee for this service if you'd like. I don't get involved in handling any asbestos myself and I don't recommend you do either.