Asbestos Hazards

If inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause diseases that harm your respiratory system. Some inhaled fibers are trapped in mucous and expelled by your body. Fibers not expelled will accumulate. Although not all people exposed to asbestos develop health problems, there is no safe level.

Asbestos is the name given to several similar naturally occurring minerals: chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite. Naturally occurring asbestos is commonly found within serpentine rocks in California. Asbestos can only be identified using a microscope. All homes built prior to 1978 will probably contain asbestos containing materials. In 1989 The Environmental Protection Agency announced a phased ban of asbestos products to be completed by 1996. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ban in 1991. It is currently legal to manufacture asbestos containing materials.

Common items containing asbestos are:

Ceilings having a "cottage cheese" appearance may contain asbestos. Textured walls may also contain asbestos. A key aspect evaluating the risk is if the material is friable (easily crushed to a powder by hand pressure). Friable materials have a greater potential to release fibers.

Guidelines given to real estate agents:

Refer to the California Residential Environmental Hazards Booklet which is provided by every home seller in California as a required disclosure,for more information.