If your home is more than 30 years old, it likely has asbestos in it.
That’s fine, unless you remodel and then grind or sand the asbestos contained in the floor tiles, insulation or roofing materials and create a hazardous dust, which could eventually lead to respiratory issues or even cancer.
Since asbestos is a natural mineral that serves as a good insulator, it is still used in some building materials. Jack Leonard of the Environmental Management Institute says there are a lot of misconceptions about handling asbestos.
“If it’s big enough to see, you can’t breathe it," Leonard said. "And so it’s the fine dust that’s produced when it’s mishandled that’s the problem. As long as the asbestos is intact, it's not a big problem. But if you’ve got a little leakage from the upstairs bathroom and the stuff is kind of peeling off, that could be serious.”
Angie's List suggests that before you start a project, find a qualified asbestos inspector. The county or state health department may be able to help, because many states require that inspection companies be licensed.
Experts recommend sealing off the entire work area with plastic sheeting and leaving the heating or air conditioning systems off when the work is being done. Once the work is complete, Angie's List says it’s a good idea to have the air tested to make sure there aren’t any microscopic asbestos fibers still floating around.