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Is it Time for Asbestos Testing in Your Home?

It’s not uncommon for homeowners today to assume that asbestos is a concern of the past. While it is true that asbestos insulation is not likely to be found in newer homes, it’s certainly possible for older homes to have asbestos in areas that may not be so obvious, which could result in unexpected health issues related to asbestos exposure.

The team at EHC Associates is a trusted source for asbestos testing and abatement in Lancaster County, Philadelphia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware and as part of our ongoing efforts to help homeowners decide if it’s time to take advantage of the service we offer, we have compiled a list of four warning signs that it may be time for asbestos testing in your home.

1. Having Recently Had Renovations Done

Asbestos does not pose a health risk if it’s undisturbed, even in older homes. It’s only when fibers get loose and become airborne that a problem exists. However, home improvement work can easily disturb older asbestos-containing materials, which is why homeowners who’ve recently renovated a home built before the EPA banned asbestos in the late 1970’s should have testing performed. Even some homes built during the 1980’s may still contain some asbestos in floor tiles, ceilings, pipe cement, and other products and materials. This is because the EPA didn’t extend the asbestos ban to include all newly manufactured products until 1989.

basement with asbestos being renovated

 

The following household materials installed before the late 1980’s may also contain asbestos:

• Vinyl tiles
• Vinyl sheet with millboard or paper
• Older, flat corrugated roofing
• Vent covers
• Older ceilings with asbestos cement sheets

 

2. Seeing Disintegrating Pipes or Duct Sealants

Even if a home has been recently renovated, all asbestos insulation or asbestos-containing materials may not have been removed, especially if a home has basement pipes that were untouched during renovation efforts. It’s also easy to overlook basement pipes because they’re often not visible.

But if disintegrating materials around your basement pipes are spotted, it’s time for a homeowner to have asbestos testing done. Similar issues may exist if you have older ductwork that was sealed with asbestos-containing materials.

 

3. Noticing Symptoms of Asbestosis or Mesothelioma

One of the dangers of undetected asbestos in homes is the possibility of developing serious asbestos-related conditions. Two of the most common ones are asbestosis and mesothelioma. Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease specifically related to expose to asbestos fibers.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Common mesothelioma symptoms include:

• General fatigue
• Unexplained weight loss
• Shortness of breath and/or chronic dry coughing

Common symptoms of asbestosis include:

• Loss of appetite
• Chest pain or tightness
• Persistent coughing and/or shortness of breath

man coughing with symptoms of mesothelioma

4. Having an Older Gas Fireplace with Fake Ashes

Because asbestos is extremely heat resistant, it was frequently used in artificial fireplaces to create fake embers and ashes. So, in homes with an older fireplace like this, it’s best for homeowners to err on the side of caution and have their home tested for asbestos. This also applies to homes with older furnaces that may have an asbestos coating in certain areas.

What Does Asbestos Look Like?

The fact is that most homeowners don’t know what asbestos looks like. The appearance of asbestos will vary based on what it was originally used for. For example, asbestos sprayed coatings like what may be found on the underside of roofs, in ceilings, or in walls as insulation basically looks like sprayed fire extinguisher foam. Homeowners might find asbestos in thermal insulation painted with bitumen, wrapped, or sealed with a coating of plaster. Materials like this tend to have a high fiber release risk when they wear down with age.

Once a popular choice for fire protection in internal partition walls and acoustic and thermal insulation, asbestos insulating board (AIB) may be seen in large blocks or tile-like pieces. It’s usually a plain white material. For instance, if AIB was used in an old fire door, it might become noticeable when the door’s exterior material chips or wears aware. Asbestos may also be found as:

• Textured, decorative coatings on ceilings and walls
• Paper or felt for that was used for general heat insulation or fire protection on things like roofing felt
• Asbestos-reinforced plastics on older toilets or staircases
• Thermoplastics used in floor tiles
• Insulating barriers on older circuit breakers
• Bitumen products made with asbestos

The Three Types of Asbestos Fibers

To further clarify what asbestos looks like, let’s look at the three types of asbestos fibers. Accounting for more than 90 percent of asbestos found in U.S. buildings, chrysotile asbestos fibers are white, flexible, and curly. Tremolite fibers can range in color from milky white to darker green fibers. These are also sharper-shaped fibers that are easier to inhale. Straight, needle-like amosite fibers can also become easily trapped in lungs. It’s also these brown-colored fibers that were once widely used in many asbestos-containing products.

Contact EHC Associates today to schedule asbestos testing if you think you may have this substance in your home. If asbestos is found, we can recommend appropriate, affordable abatement options.

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Our Google Reviews

There was a team of people at E.H.C. that worked with dedication and care to make our home safe and healthy. Elio, Barb and Louis all played an important part in the scope of work in our home. I am thankful for their work, support and effort.
Jamie Sentz
Jamie Sentz
19:30 06 Jun 24
Elio was wonderful to work with, he returned my calls in a timely manner and was quick and efficient with his quote.Alex and Ryder were punctual, polite and professional. They communicated updates to me throughout the process and explain the next steps. They respected my home and did an excellent job cleaning up after themselves when they were finished. I would absolutly do business with EHC again in the future if the need arises.
Amber Bunting
Amber Bunting
14:02 29 Mar 24
Working with Alex on a project in Hershey. Alex goes the extra mile to make sure everything is done by the book. Very important in this field
Mark & Melissa Cabanas
Mark & Melissa Cabanas
18:31 04 Jan 24
Louis and his crew were professional, personable, and efficient! Great job!
Brandon Monaco
Brandon Monaco
19:21 20 Nov 23
The crew did a great job in removing the asbestos material. Pedro Aluane was great to work with, and he went the extra mile giving me a hand at end of day in installing a tarp over the work area in case it rained over night. Thanks
Ed Patches
Ed Patches
13:46 13 Nov 23
EHC remove the asbestos shingles from this building. Tall Shawn the foreman was great to work with, he communicated and did a good job in managing the project
Edwin Patches
Edwin Patches
13:39 13 Nov 23
Elio was responsive, the admin staff was communicative, Alex and the on-site folks were tidy and professional. Not inexpensive, but that's the nature of their business I suppose. Asbestos abatement isn't a DIY gig.
Shelby LaMar
Shelby LaMar
11:40 03 Nov 23
Alex Henriquez was the project manager for our project. We had some moisture coming in to the house from outside from an old AC unit. He took every precaution to help with removing and stabilizing the lead paint. Alex was also incredibly knowledgeable and was able to answer every question so I could understand exactly what caused the issue what they did and what needed to be done to prevent it in the future. Amazing job.
justin creal
justin creal
22:00 01 Nov 23
Can’t begin to express how great the service was from EHC. I had a wall torn out by a contractor who didn’t test for asbestos, potentially putting my home at risk. EHC came out the very next morning to test my wall and samples, and even provided a rush service making sure I had results the day after. Both the technician (apologies for a bad memory with names), and Colleen were so helpful and were able to set everyone’s minds at ease. I expected to pay a lot for the service, but it was incredibly affordable. Can’t say enough about how professional and helpful this company is. Thank you for caring about customers and proving incredible service!
Austin Good
Austin Good
19:10 20 Oct 23
Alex and his team were extremely professional. My experience with this company as a whole has been very positive. They made quick work of the asbestos insulated pipes and 100 year old boiler in my basement. My family and I are so relieved and thankful to have that stuff out of our home.
Taylor Dietrich
Taylor Dietrich
23:13 13 Oct 23
Would highly recommend ! Elio came to explain and educate on the importance of having our ducts cleaned, which made the decision to go with EHC very easy.Professional and efficient.
Klay Lee
Klay Lee
18:45 12 Oct 23
I had a mold issue in my basement and called EHC for assistance and I couldn't be more pleased with the service.From the beginning when Elio came out it was clear that he was exceptionally knowledgeable and friendly. His expertise was evident from the start, and he took the time to explain everything clearly. His approachability helped make the process less stressful.When it was time for the job to be done, Luis and the team did an outstanding job. They took the time to address any concerns and questions, ensuring that I was comfortable with every step of the process. I was also impressed by their efficiency.I wholeheartedly recommend the team from EHC for any mold remediation needs. Their professionalism, expertise, & friendliness are truly top notch.
Carlos Devers
Carlos Devers
15:44 05 Oct 23
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