• William Powers

The Truth About Asbestos That May Be Present In Your Home

When should I suspect asbestos presence in my home?


Since a general ban on asbestos occurred in 1987, houses built after that year have the building materials that commonly contained asbestos replaced with other materials. Houses built prior to the ban have increased potential risk of having building materials containing asbestos content.


What are typical materials from prior to the ban found in the interior of a home?

  • Plaster

  • Drywall

  • Joint Compound

  • Vinyl Flooring & Mastic

  • Pipe or Duct Insulation

  • Acoustical Ceiling Tiles

Should you be worried about the presence of asbestos in your home or a home that you’re considering purchasing?


While no asbestos is good asbestos, the mere presence of asbestos in a home is not generally considered an “issue”. The issue is when the asbestos containing materials (ACM) are disturbed. Disturbing the material allows it to become airborne and this leads to breathing these asbestos fibers into our lungs with resulting potential health effects.

Whenever a renovation project (or a mitigation project if your home has a moisture issue, etc.) involves taking down walls/ceilings or removing old vinyl flooring, these areas should be tested before they are disturbed.


Some types of materials containing asbestos are visually fairly obvious, as in the case of old heating pipe insulation, others are not obvious from a simple visual inspection, such as plaster, drywall, vinyl flooring, and ceiling tiles. These require taking a physical sample of that material that is sent for laboratory analysis.


While no amount of asbestos presence is considered “safe”, levels greater than 1% are regulated and require contractors with specific licenses to abate the materials that will be disturbed.

Powers Environmental LLC is licensed to perform asbestos inspections in New York and New Jersey.

 

Mold Fact No. 3


Sometimes on basement or crawl space walls there is a white crystalline substance that some worry to be mold, especially because it grows over time. However, this is usually not mold at all. Rather, it is often something called “efflorescence”. Efflorescence is actually a mineral deposit that results from ground water coming through the foundation of the home. The water evaporates and leaves the dissolved minerals behind. It ‘grows’ in that the more water comes through the foundation, the more minerals are left behind.


While efflorescence is not mold, it does indicate moisture is coming through the walls at a significant rate. Achieving and maintaining a relative humidity level of 50-55% will keep the water that evaporates from causing a mold problem on building and content surfaces. This can be done by consistently running a dehumidifier.

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