It’s common knowledge that asbestos is an incredibly dangerous substance that can cause significant health problems for anyone who is exposed to it. Asbestos, which is a mineral fiber that occurs in rock and soil, is known for its fiber strength and heat resistant qualities. Asbestos has been widely used in construction materials and manufactured goods. Exposure to asbestos is known to cause or be associated with lung cancer, mesothelioma (a cancer that is found in the lining of the lung, chest, abdomen, and heart), and asbestosis.
While most people are aware that asbestos is dangerous, many mistakenly believe that the substance has been banned for use in modern materials and products. It’s true that in 1989, the EPA attempted to ban most asbestos-containing products, but that rule was vacated and remanded by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. This meant that the ban on the manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution of asbestos-containing products was overturned.
Because asbestos is still present in older buildings, including homes and workplaces, asbestos test kits have become popular. But what are the pros and cons of using an asbestos test kit, and is there a difference between an asbestos home test kit vs. a professional asbestos test kit? We’ll discuss these questions and more in the following article.
The Pros of Using an Asbestos Test Kit
If you’re concerned that you may have asbestos in your home, there are asbestos testing kits available from most home improvement stores. These kits often include a sample bag, plastic gloves, instructions, and a detailed order form, although they vary to a degree.
Asbestos test kits are usually relatively inexpensive, but with some you have to pay an added fee to have the lab evaluate the samples that you send. For the kits where the lab fees are included, you must buy a separate kit for each sample that you want to send in.
Home asbestos testing kits are beneficial if you are concerned and have no other options to determine whether there are dangerous substances in your home. In some cases, you’ll save money using an asbestos home test kit instead of paying the hourly rates for a specialized contractor. In states or areas where such professional asbestos test kits are difficult to find, or no accreditation exists, these kits provide the best option.
The Cons of Using an Asbestos Test Kit
There are two things to keep in mind when it comes to an asbestos testing kit. The first is that, though they seem like the most inexpensive option at first, it’s often the case that the added lab testing fees cost significantly more than you’d expect. Occasionally, this added fee elevates the cost to about what you’d spend on a home inspection by an asbestos professional.
The second thing to keep in mind is that many products that contain asbestos aren’t dangerous unless they’re damaged or disturbed. The EPA recommends leaving undamaged asbestos-containing materials alone, and avoid damaging them as much as possible.
If you do decide to use a home asbestos testing kit, follow the instructions carefully to avoid potentially exposing yourself. Wear gloves, goggles, and dust respirators to ensure you’re protected.
If you decide to hire someone to perform a professional asbestos test instead of using a home testing kit, there are two types of accredited asbestos professionals you may need to consult. The first are asbestos inspectors who can inspect your home, assess conditions, take samples, and provide guidance about what you should do. If they determine repairs are necessary, asbestos inspectors can also make sure everything is done properly after the fact.
The second type are asbestos contractors who are trained to handle, repair, or remove asbestos materials safely. While federal law does not mandate that professionals who deal with asbestos be accredited, some states and localities do. In Oregon, there is an accreditation program for professionals who work with asbestos.
If you have questions or would like to discuss a possible mesothelioma or asbestos claim, our mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation.