There are hundreds of factors to consider when selling a home. However, the presence of asbestos is not often taken into account. Asbestos is a hazardous material – but only under certain conditions. For this reason, it is important to obtain a home inspection and asbestos consultation to help reassure potential buyers that while asbestos may be present, it is not typically immediately hazardous.
Many believe asbestos to be a problem of the past. However, they may be surprised to learn that asbestos can be found, in some form, in nearly 80% of structures built prior to 1978. Asbestos materials can be found almost anywhere in the home but are most common in pipe linings, boilers, insulation, and HVAC ductwork. This is not to say however, that all these materials are inherently hazardous. In fact, the majority of them present no hazard at all as long as they are stable and intact.
Asbestos-containing materials will not emit asbestos fibers unless they are damaged or unstable. These materials must be broken or cracked for asbestos fibers to escape. For instance, a ceiling tile made with asbestos is likely not immediately hazardous if it is undisturbed and intact. However, a ceiling tile which has sustained water damage may potentially be weakened enough to the point where asbestos could be released.
When in the air supply, asbestos fibers can easily be inhaled and lodge in the membrane lining of the lungs. These fibers can irritate the inner tissue and cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer known only to be caused by asbestos exposure.
Home inspectors and asbestos consultants can help homeowners identify asbestos in the home and advise them on a course of action. Buyers appreciate the professional opinions of these firms and will likely be reassured about the home’s safety for them and their family. An open discussion about asbestos can ease the sale of the property and give both the buyer and seller the important information they need.
This article was written by:
Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center