As one of the smaller states in the United States, it is ironic that Connecticut is one of the largest in terms of asbestos exposure risks. Predominantly used in millions of homes and buildings built prior to 1980, many civilians are still being exposed to asbestos in public facilities, restaurants, schools, shipyards and other industrial locations. There are a reported 600 locations in the state that have been known exposure sites. All of the known exposure sites occurred in the cities of Hartford, New Haven and Fairfield. There are many things to consider in the real estate industries.
Predominantly used in millions of homes and buildings built prior to 1980, many civilians are still being exposed to asbestos during remodeling and demolition. Asbestos is often in old fireproofing, roofing, vinyl flooring, pipe and boiler insulation, and some roads and cement pipe and cement sheet products. Citizens of Connecticut should be aware that when purchasing or remodeling older homes, exposure to asbestos may potentially become a health concern.
Although exposure to asbestos does not always lead to harmful illnesses, frequent exposure greatly increases those chances. Asbestos exposure can cause a severe lung ailment known as mesothelioma. This rare form of asbestos lung cancer accounts for nearly three percent of all cancer diagnoses in the country. Mesothelioma treatment is unfortunately almost always unsuccessful and physician prognosis is poor. There were 498 fatalities relating to asbestos in Connecticut between 1979 and 1999. Of those deaths, 249 can be attributed to mesothelioma.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health administers an asbestos program that aims to reduce potential exposure to asbestos. Found in over 3,000 products in the state, they provide assistance in the safe inspection, removal and disposal of asbestos-contaminated areas by following state regulations. The removal of asbestos must be performed by licensed abatement contractors who are specially trained in handling hazardous materials. It is highly recommended that those who believe they live or work in an area where asbestos are found to leave it undisturbed. Contractors come equipped with protective gear in case its fibers become airborne immediately after it is broken up.
With increasing technology and public initiatives, green alternatives exist which allow for an asbestos free environment. The United States Environmental Program states that the use of recycled building materials such as cotton fiber insulation can reduce energy use by 25 to 35 percent. These asbestos alternatives will not only reduce energy costs, but allow for a clean, healthy home, free of health damaging materials.
For more information, go to www.asbestos.com.
Bob & Richelle Ward, Realtors, ABR
Prudential Connecticut Realty
Cell - (203) 470-9818