Northbank Home Inspection offers asbestos testing and independent lab analysis for Vancouver, WA and the surround SW Washington area. Asbestos testing is especially important and commonly conducted on homes built between 1940 and the late 1970s. We offer this service in coordination with your home inspection or as a standalone service. The two most common materials tested for asbestos are popcorn ceilings and insulation, although asbestos can be found in many other products.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a silicate material that, when breathed in, can cause serious health issues, including asbestos-linked cancer, known as mesothelioma. It can come in many forms — siding, roofing, wall texture, insulation, piping, concrete, and ceiling tiles to name a few — and was widely used in the United States until the late 1970s when its adverse health effects became widely known. And despite its dangers, the United States is one of few major industrialized countries that still allow it to be used.
Builders used asbestos extensively from 1940 to the late 1970s until health advocates issued major warnings. Asbestos is commonly found as insulation — usually vermiculite — and popcorn ceiling texture — typically these ceilings can be identified by small, shiny, reflective flakes distributed throughout the texture. These materials become dangerous especially when damaged or disturbed and is “friable,” which means its dust or fibers are released into the air. In this state, it is easily breathed in, and over time, can damage the lungs, which can lead to cancer and asbestosis, serious, chronic, non-cancerous respiratory disease.
Should you have your home tested for asbestos?
If your home or the home you’re buying was built between 1940-1980 then it may be prudent to have one or more building products in your home tested for asbestos. This is especially true if you’re planning renovations that may disturb or breakdown areas of the home. Asbestos becomes especially dangerous when “friable” or turned into a dust or powder and is breathed in. Read more about asbestos and its dangers from The Mesothelioma Center.
Contact us today about asbestos testing!
The Murray Bill
You may be surprised to know that asbestos is still used in a myriad of products in the United States, despite efforts to completely ban its use. The U.S. is one of the few holdouts for completely banning asbestos among major industrialized nations. In fact, the United States Geological Survey reported that, in 2006, the United States used 2,000 metric tons of asbestos, which was then used in products ranging from roofing materials, coatings, and friction products, like vehicle brakes.
In 2007, Washington State Senator Patty Murray introduced a bill to ban asbestos in the states completely. This bill, which became known as the “Murray Bill,” would have banned importation, production, and distribution of asbestos products. The bill passed the Senate, but failed in the House. Asbestos products are highly regulated in the U.S., but are still used in hundreds of building and consumer products as long as those products contain less than one percent asbestos.