lighthouse in Bridgeport CT

Fairfield County is home to Connecticut’s largest city—Bridgeport. It is the state’s most densely populated region and one of its most historic. As one of the largest and most historic counties in the region, Fairfield County is home to thousands of structures that were built before the 1980s. During this time, asbestos was considered a “miracle mineral” thanks to extraordinary strength, fire resistance, and flexibility. These properties made it the mineral of choice for building materials such as asbestos cement, boiler and pipe insulation, ceiling and floor tiles, fireproofing products, and roofing materials.

Because these asbestos-containing materials were so common in Fairfield County’s construction industry, they can still be found in apartment buildings, schools, churches, hospitals, commercial buildings, and more. Unfortunately, even some newer Fairfield County homes may contain asbestos.

Although abatement efforts are ongoing throughout Fairfield County, the average home or business owner may not know much about the dangers of asbestos or why they should consider asbestos testing. First, asbestos is the only known cause of an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. Exposure to the mineral can also cause lung cancer or nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders such as asbestosis, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and pleural effusion. Although some of these conditions may be cured, there is no cure for mesothelioma.

Next, as stated earlier, many structures built before the 1980s (and some newer homes) may contain asbestos. The need to test for asbestos becomes more pressing if:

You are planning to buy or sell

Just about every potential buyer will (or should) ask whether the home or building contains asbestos. Uncertainty can affect the price and potential sale of the home or building. Although asbestos testing is relatively inexpensive (all things considered), the costs for abatement can be quite hefty.

Your home or building has water damage or sewage backup

If this is the case, the walls, flooring and ceilings may need repair. Testing can help prevent unnecessary (and costly) delays during the restoration process.

Your home or building contains vermiculite attic insulation

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a staggering 70 percent of vermiculite sold in the U.S. from 1919 to 1990 came from a mine near Libby, Montana. There was also a deposit of asbestos at the mine, so the vermiculite from Libby was contaminated with asbestos. The EPA states that “if you have vermiculite insulation in your home, you should assume this material may be contaminated with asbestos and be aware of steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from exposure to asbestos.”

You are planning a renovation

When asbestos is disturbed, it can crumble and change into powder or dust. Once this happens, asbestos fibers become airborne. Inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to debilitating conditions such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, as well as pleural disorders such as asbestosis, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and pleural effusion. Keep in mind that there is no known safe level of asbestos exposure.

You, a family member, or employee are experiencing unusual symptoms.

Chest pain, shortness of breath with physical exertion, dry cough, or fatigue that won’t go away are all symptoms of asbestos-related disease. See your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and RTK Environmental Group can help with the rest.

Although asbestos is extremely dangerous, it can be easily managed. Our trained and accredited asbestos professionals service Fairfield County and can have your home, potential business location, construction site, or remodeling project sampled safely and in compliance with state and county regulations. Take the necessary steps to make sure you, your workers, or your family are not harmed by asbestos. Call RTK Environmental to schedule an appointment today at 800.392.6468.

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Photo credit: rik-shaw / IWoman / CC BY