Asbestos has long been used in construction of homes because of its insulating and flame-retardant capabilities. Throughout much of the industrial period, asbestos served in the production of hundreds of products including brake linings for cars, insulation for homes, fire-retardant spray coatings, gaskets, and more. By the early 1970s, medical researchers determined that the material was linked to cancer and by 1989, the EPA had banned it in the U.S. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals located in New Orleans, Louisiana overturned that ruling in 1991.
The causal link first made in the 1970s between asbestos and mesothelioma is now well-established. Fortunately, while not officially banned, asbestos in manufacturing and commercial use is declining. This is largely in part to market influences. The public simply does not want the deadly material in use.
Although most commercial home developers do not use asbestos in construction, many older homes still have products made from the deadly substance. When buying a home in Pennsylvania, the seller is required to disclose any known defects including environmental contaminants. Most realtors consider asbestos to be such a contaminant and most home inspections will include it. This does not mean, however, that in all cases of a sale, the presence of asbestos will be made known. To be safe, most home buyers seeking a pre-2000 home would be advised to hire an asbestos testing service.
If asbestos is in the home, it is most likely to be in the walls, ceiling, and under the flooring. Insulation is the most common source of in-home asbestos. It is generally a fluffy, blue-grey substance which flakes easily. When disturbed, the fibers are readily released into the air where they may be breathed into the lungs. Once in the lungs, the fibers will remain until they trigger one of the three deadly diseases attributed to the material, most notably mesothelioma.
Other materials that may contain asbestos include pipes, millboard around electrical panels, plaster work, wiring insulation, cement, and exterior siding shingles. Although the hardened substance is relatively inert, it can disintegrate over time and release its deadly fibers into the air of the home. Additionally, if a person is unaware of its presence then begins to cut, grind, or drill into the substance, they will easily become a victim to its deadly fibers.
When asbestos is to be removed from a home, it is always best to hire professional asbestos-removal contractors. These will notify the EPA of the removal and follow strict guidelines to safely eliminate the threat from the home. Most families seek alternate accommodations during this process.
The Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler are committed to helping victims of asbestos exposure. Our dedicated lawyers help clients throughout Philadelphia County, Chester County, Delaware County, and New Jersey from our Philadelphia offices. To schedule a consultation, contact us online or call 800-369-0899 today.