The success of television shows like Fixer Upper and the HGTV network may have inspired average homeowners to take on their own house renovation and do-it-yourself projects. It seems like there is always a new blog or Instagram photo or magazine article describing a before-and-after home remodeling success story.
But these picture-perfect renovations don’t always tell the real story, which is that home remodeling can have nasty, unintended consequences. And that’s because many homes — often older ones — contain asbestos.
Why Should Homeowners Fear Asbestos?
Asbestos minerals are composed of durable fibers that are resistant to fire and many chemicals. Builders have incorporated asbestos into insulation and other building materials since the 1800s. Unfortunately, we now know that asbestos can cause significant health problems if the fibers become airborne and are digested or inhaled, including:
- Asbestosis — as asbestos fibers are inhaled, they may become trapped in the lung tissue and eventually cause scarring, which can impede proper lung functioning; and
- Mesothelioma — a cancer of the outer lining of the lung and chest as well as the abdominal wall.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of people die from mesothelioma every year. And when homeowners tear down walls, rip up flooring, replace roof shingles or disturb other materials that contain asbestos, they risk exposing themselves and others to this and other diseases. Asbestos fibers can also linger on clothes, which increases the risk of secondhand exposure by anyone else who handles those clothing items.
Precautions Homeowners Should Take
Homeowners should have their homes inspected for asbestos before undertaking any major renovation project. If inspectors find asbestos in your home, hire professionals to remove it. There are federal and state laws dictating how asbestos should be handled, and the average homeowner is not versed in these requirements.
If you don’t have your home inspected before beginning a home improvement project, take things slowly. If you immediately bust down a wall you might not realize it contains asbestos until after you have exposed yourself and others to the dangerous fibers. If at any point you discover asbestos, or suspect that a material contains it, stop work and contact a professional. Not taking such precautions could leave you open to future legal liability.
Dry cleaners who handle clothes or other cloth-covered materials that have been exposed to asbestos are at risk of secondhand exposure. Friends or neighbors who visit or help out with a renovation project are at risk of exposure. The homeowner’s children are at risk of exposure. Pregnant women who are exposed to asbestos risk harming the developing fetus. If you have been exposed to asbestos, an experienced attorney can help.
Contact Us Today
Contact Patrick Yancey Law Firm today for a free consultation if you have been exposed to asbestos or if you develop an asbestos-related disease. You might have grounds for a lawsuit. Our experienced attorneys will help you recover the compensation that you deserve, including medical expenses and pain and suffering.