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Health Concerns Photo Pages

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(Above) P 185. In very old houses, you may find Rockwool or Vermiculite insulation. This off-white color insulation has a clumpy appearance. All older Rockwool or Vermiculite type of insulation should be tested for any asbestos content. Any foam insulation should be tested for UFFI content. Contact your local EPA office for more information about these and other health and environmental hazards.

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P 187. It is rare that you'll find asbestos insulation in good condition like this. This asbestos has not been disturbed and the metal brackets are still intact. As a result, there is less of a chance of asbestos fibers being breathed in by the occupants. However, it's always better to have all asbestos removed by a licensed EPA contractor.
Call your local EPA for their advice about health hazards in a home.
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P 186. This asbestos insulation on the heating pipes has been encapsulated. When an EPA licensed contractor encapsulates asbestos, they help reduce the health hazards of fibers getting in the air. However, as long as there is any asbestos in a house, there are going to be some fibers floating around. Encapsulating this insulation does not totally eliminate the problem!

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P 189. Here we are in asbestos heaven! There are probably more asbestos fibers in this room than there are dust fibers. Almost always in older houses you'll find asbestos pipe insulation that is loose or has been removed unprofessionally. These conditions create very serious health hazards for the occupants of the house. Follow the EPA guidelines to resolve this.

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P 188. Radon gas is considered by EPA to be the number two leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking. Radon is everywhere since it's created by a natural breakdown of rocks and soil. Stone foundation walls and dirt floors in the lower level increase radon gas levels. The large rock embedded in this basement will add radon into the air. A cement floor covering will help reduce this problem.

The insulation vapor barrier is installed upside down!

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P 190. This photo and the one below show a radon mitigation system in the lower level of a house with the radon gas being vented outside above the roof.

Mitigation is the term used for the treatment to remove the radon problem by reducing the radon gas levels in the house. When a house is mitigated, the radon contractor will seal all open cracks in the lower level walls and floors that they can find. They then drill a hole in the foundation floor which looks like a sump pump pit. Instead of installing a sump pump in this pit, the contractor will install a fan with pipes leading to the outside of the house. In some areas, the local codes require that these pipes discharge above the roof line. This will help prevent the radon from entering back into the house through an open window. The purpose of the mitigation is to vent all radon gas that builds up underneath the foundation, to the exterior of the house.

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P 191. While we're on the lovely topic of lung cancer, let's talk about radon. A radon lab technician told me the story about how radon was discovered. I thought you might find it interesting. There was a man who lived in Reading, Pennsylvania that worked for some type of nuclear laboratory. When he used to go to work, he would set off the radiation detectors at the lab. The radiation detectors are installed so that the nuclear lab can monitor their employees to see if they're being exposed to radiation inside the lab. The lab employees couldn't figure out why the detectors were setting off, so they tested his house for radiation. While studying the problem, they stumbled upon radon gas.
(Fortunately or unfortunately for mankind.
I guess it's just another way to develop cancer. Like there aren't enough already!)

 

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