My colleague, Jeff Larabee, is in San Diego. Like his area known as San Carlos, our city of San Carlos and the other towns of the midpeninsula and Silicon Valley have many older homes which have asbestos in various products.
Don't panic, read Jeff's good info instead and you'll learn what to do.
Many a San Carlos first time home buyer has heard from their home inspector the word, "asbestos" and gone pale with fear. Relax! While potentially dangerous, there are ways to safely address the existence of asbestos. If you are buying a San Carlos home for sale it is always recommended you hire a home inspector to check for the presence and condition of asbestos. Many of the San Carlos homes for sale were built in the 60's and 70's when asbestos was still prevalently used. Unless the property was update or has been bought and sold a few times since then, it is very possible the popcorn in your ceiling or the insulation wrapping your ducting is "hot" with asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency has the following to say about asbestos:
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral fiber. It can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.
How Can Asbestos Affect My Health?
From studies of people who were exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards, we know that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer; mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity; and asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.
Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop these health problems. However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibers can remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of disease. Asbestos material that would crumble easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is more likely to create a health hazard.
What Should Be Done About Asbestos In The Home?
If you think asbestos may be in your home, don't panic. Usually the best thing is to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone. Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers.
Major repairs must be done only by a professional trained in methods for safely handling asbestos. Minor repairs should also be done by professionals since there is always a risk of exposure to fibers when asbestos is disturbed. Doing minor repairs yourself is not recommended since improper handling of asbestos materials can create a hazard where none existed.