3.      Asbestos –Exposure to asbestos can cause different forms of cancer and scarring of the lungs. It was commonly used in buildings prior to the 1970s because of its fire resistant qualities. Proper removal of deteriorating asbestos is tricky and expensive.

·         Asbestos in good condition should be left alone; it’s most dangerous when particles become airborne.

·         Homeowners should note that older appliances opened up for repair may release asbestos fibers. Even recently made barbecue mitts, protective aprons and gloves may contain asbestos. These items should be discarded when damaged.

·         The Environmental Protection Agency advises homeowners to avoid hiring a tester and correction contractor from the same company to avoid conflict of interest.

·         When work is being done in an area containing asbestos, the affected area is sealed off from the rest of the home with duct tape and plastic sheeting, and the air conditioning and heating systems are turned off. Home residents and pets are kept from the area until the project is complete.

·         The few products still made that contain asbestos must be labeled. They include:

o   Insulation

o   Roofing and siding shingles

o   Textured paint and in patching compounds

o   Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces

o   Stove-top pads and walls and flooring materials used around woodburning stoves

o   Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives; and

o   Insulation around hot water and steam pipes, and oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets

Angie’s six steps to hiring reliable help for any toxic removal:  

  1. Determine if your state requires contractors to be licensed for the work you need done.
  2. Hire only contractors who are licensed and/or certified to handle household toxins, and can prove their qualifications for your specific need.
  3. Determine what steps your contractor will use to ensure the work won’t further spread the problem.
  4. If your contractor doesn’t talk to you about the concerns the toxin poses, doesn’t have a containment plan or isn’t aware of the dangers the work can create, hire someone else.
  5. Get more than one estimate for the work; require follow-up and a guarantee for the work.
  6. Get and check references, using people who’ve worked with the professional before, and check Angie’s List for even more insight.