Asbestos in Your Rental: How to Know and What to Do

Your home should be your safe space. It’s where you can relax from the outside world’s demands and focus on yourself and your loved ones. But if you live in an unsafe house, how can you find that peace of mind you need?

Asbestos-laced materials are a significant concern for people living in old buildings and apartments. The massive use of this material during its heyday led to many houses today still with this toxic substance lurking somewhere in their homes.   

So, how can you ensure that there are no traces of asbestos inside your home? How do you know if your rental was built with asbestos-free materials? What signs should you watch out for? More importantly, what is the dangers of asbestos in your rental?

Before you strike that deal with the property manager and move in, read this article on how to know if there’s asbestos in your rental and what to do about it. Knowing these things can help you consider your apartment hunting more seriously.

This article provides information to help tell if asbestos was added to the building materials used in the construction of a property or rental. The article also discusses the dangers of asbestos in a rental.

Choosing a rental home, mainly near cities, should be based on more than just how cheap it is. Safety must be at the top of your list when looking for a house. It would be best to consider that buildings built before the 90s have a high risk of asbestos in their nooks and crannies.

Asbestos exposure is a danger that, if overlooked, can result in severe complications. Asbestos is a toxic material that can lead to mesothelioma, rare cancer affecting the smooth linings of internal organs, especially in the lungs.

When moving into a rental, you can avoid mesothelioma and its stages by taking the necessary precautions to avoid asbestos exposure. 

Warning Signs That Your Home Has Asbestos

In 1989, several groups concerned about the dangers of asbestos attempted to ban asbestos use in the United States. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA issued a ban on all asbestos products, which caused an uproar in the industry.

The ban didn’t last because it got overturned after the asbestos industry filed a case against it and won.

Today, it’s surprising that despite being carcinogenic, asbestos is not banned from use. The U.S. continues to import and use asbestos. However, mining asbestos in the United States has stopped since 2002.

Still, materials used today contain asbestos, even in the construction industry. For this reason, you should be wary of asbestos warning signs in your home. Remember that asbestos is a dangerous toxic substance proven to cause life-threatening diseases.

Where to Check for Asbestos

You may be asking, if asbestos is such a dangerous material, why did people use it in construction all these years? The answer is plain and straightforward; asbestos is a fantastic construction material.

Asbestos is a good insulator, has fire protection properties, and can prevent materials from corrosion. In addition, asbestos is known to have these features:

  • Durable and cheap
  • Effective for sound Insulation
  • Chemical-resistant
  • Water-resistant
  • Resistant to electricity

The risk of having asbestos hidden in some concealed corner of your home is likely if the house was constructed before the asbestos ban in the late 1980s.

Here are some common warning signs that your home may contain asbestos:

  • There are old materials in your home, such as old insulation, ceiling tiles, or floor tiles.
  • There are damaged or deteriorating materials in your home. Old asbestos insulation can break off into dust particles that can be airborne when disturbed or damaged.
  • There are areas with water damage. These areas commonly have a musty or moldy smell.
  • There are areas with visible fibers that you can’t identify. Asbestos is a fibrous material and can easily crumple into dust when disturbed, especially if it has started to break down.

What To Do Next

          Note that a DIY (do-it-yourself) asbestos removal is dangerous and not recommended. Also, there are local regulations that you might violate for mishandling hazardous materials.

         Here are the following steps to avoid exposure to asbestos.

  • Call in the experts: You must never touch, disturb or remove materials that you suspect could contain asbestos. Call in the experts to conduct an inspection, removal, and cleaning. They have all the equipment and training to ensure asbestos removal is done safely and securely.
  • Call your local EPA personnel or health officer in your area: You must inform the local health authorities about the asbestos issue.

They can use this information to conduct investigations with the developer or construction agency that built your home. They can help pass the information to other people so they, too, can avoid the harmful effects of asbestos.

  • Have the air in your home tested: Asbestos can spread like dust. It can float into your air conditioning unit and spread to different areas in your home.

Asbestos fibers can lodge on your pet’s fur or clothes and expose you and your family to this cancerous substance without you even knowing. You should request an air test in your home to know if there are traces of asbestos.

Potential Dangers of Asbestos in Your Home

         You should take asbestos in your homes seriously. The dangers posed by asbestos far outweigh any amount of time, effort, and money you spend to ensure your home is free from it.

         Different health organizations in the country and abroad clearly state the dangers of asbestos.

         The NCI (National Cancer Institute) has said that there is sufficient evidence to say that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. The asbestos fibers, in their dust form, can easily get inhaled inside the body and cause damage to the body.

The American Lung Association links two diseases directly to asbestos exposure: asbestosis and mesothelioma.

  • Asbestosis is a type of lung fibrosis or scarring of the lung tissue caused by inhaled asbestos particles.
  • Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer linked to asbestos exposure. It affects the smooth linings of internal organs, mainly the lungs, abdomen, and heart.

         Four major types of mesothelioma are all due to asbestos exposure. Remember that these diseases may take years before it shows symptoms. You can be exposed to asbestos years ago, only to see its effects today.

There are four typical types of mesothelioma:

  • Pleural: Asbestos, when inhaled, travels into the lungs and attaches to the pleura, or the smooth lining covering the lungs. Inhalation is the most common way people get exposed to asbestos.
  • Peritoneal: This disease affects the smooth lining that covers the abdomen. Asbestos exposure can also happen by ingestion.
  • Pericardial: On rare occasions, asbestos gets into the smooth lining that covers the heart.
  • Testicular: This type of mesothelioma is one of the rarest cancer, which happens when asbestos exposure causes cancerous growth at the testicles.

         Asbestos can harm animals, too. So, if you’re bringing your pets in a rental, consider that they can also get sick when exposed to asbestos.

When symptoms start to show on your pet, it’s best to contact your vet immediately. Don’t waste time, as diseases caused by asbestos are aggressive and life-threatening.

But surprisingly, even though there are direct links between asbestos and cancer, the United States has yet to pass a bill to ban the use of asbestos in the country entirely. So, it would be best if you always guarded yourself against chances of exposure.

The good news is that encountering this material is relatively rare nowadays. Health protocols and housing regulations have taken a step to remove asbestos from commercial and residential use.

Still, it’s best to keep these essential tips in mind when moving to a house or apartment rental:

  • Keep your rental home in good condition.
  • Have your rental home inspected once you suspect any contaminants.
  • Keep your home well-ventilated.

Always make routine visits to your doctor for check-ups