Does This Old House Have Asbestos? A DIY Test Can Tell

(DGIwire) – The Environmental Protection Agency banned most asbestos-containing products in 1989, but this regulation was overturned in 1991, so unfortunately only a few asbestos-containing products are actually banned.

In fact, houses were built with asbestos-containing insulation, textured paints, and wall and ceiling joint compounds, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Problems can arise when these materials become damaged and asbestos fibers are released into indoor air.

Asbestos material that is friable, or 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, notes the CPSC. Breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, including mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity, and asbestosis, a condition in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue. The risk increases with the number of fibers inhaled and the symptoms do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos, the CPSC reports.

“Many people are unaware that newer homes may actually contain asbestos. Owners of both newer and older homes should be curious about the risk,” says Greg Sancoff, founder of Live Pure, a designer and manufacturer of products that help consumers assess the quality, health and safety of their indoor environments. “They can now put their minds at ease thanks to the advent of new DIY technology.”

Live Pure has created yogí™, a brand new, do-it-yourself, all-in-one air and water test kit. In just a few easy steps, residents can test for the presence of nine environmental contaminants and toxins in their homes—including asbestos, mold, allergens, lead, radon, VOCs and formaldehyde in the air, as well as lead and copper levels in the drinking water. For indoor spaces larger than 2,000 square feet, or to test specific rooms, extra tests can be purchased separately.

The test is extremely simple to use and comes with an easy-to-operate instrument, color-coded sampling system and step-by-step instruction manual. Homeowners collect their samples in just minutes (radon testing takes 48 hours), then send the samples to an independent, certified laboratory, which then emails a full lab report and results summary back to the homeowner within 10 business days. The service includes a complimentary 15-minute consultation with Live Pure’s certified industrial hygienists should the homeowner receive a report with high contaminant levels. This unbiased consult provides key information needed to address these challenges.

The yogí air and water test kit was showcased to clinicians attending the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston in October 2017.

“Asbestos in the home can be very serious so it is important to know whether or not homes are at risk. The good news is that the yogi is an easy test, so if there is a problem, it can be taken care of swiftly,” Sancoff adds.

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