I live in an apartment in the SF Bay area and have been told by the
management that the ceiling is known to contain asbestos but is not a
danger since airborne testing has not shown any present.
I have recently noticed some cracks in the ceiling and I am concerned
whether this poses any danger. Is the apartment management required to
do any airborne testing in these conditions ? Or do I need to report
this to some Govt. agency ?
Thanks a lot.
Relax. It has been in many homes and has not been shown to be a problem.
Quantity is miniscule and is encapsulated in the paint. A couple of cracks
will make no difference either. Landlord has no more obligation that I'd
be aware of.
I don't know about requirements, but if you're concerned, you could
always have air samples taken and tested. You'll foot the bill on
them, though. I did this on some ductwork insulation in my home not
long ago and the testing was about $60, but I took my own samples. For
your situation, I think air samples require some specialized equipment
and you'll likely pay a bit more to have someone come to your apartment
and collect them.
In my experience, asbestos is worrisome when it becomes airborne due to
active disturbance. In fact, I have heard that if you come across
asbestos tile floors, it is acceptable to tile over them to keep the
asbestos from entering the air.
The cracks in the ceiling material have probably not disturbed the
asbestos above enough to make it airborne. However, management should
come in right away and fix that if you let them know about it. This is
particularly true in light of their potential liability.
Builder and Instructor at Emory University
Author of www.renovation101.com
It's not worth stressing over, but if the landlord is receptive to this
sort of thing, you might ask them to paint over it (with an HVLP
sprayer of some kind) if that hasn't been done before. Covering it up
is safest if you're worried about it. No fibers enter the air as long
as it's undisturbed so avoid having it removed while you're living
Most everyone has lived in a house with that type of ceiling at some
time or another. We're still living.
I was under the impression that the asbestos particles are extremely
small and not visible to the naked eye.
I will see if the apartment management is willing to do a test.
Otherwise, can someone recommend any place that does airborne asbestos
testing in the bay area ?
If you are that concerned, move out. Seriously, it is not worth fretting
over, but that is up to you, not me. If you are going to be stressed
everytime you are sitting in your apartment, you'd be in far better health
elsewhere. The asbestos may not get you, but stress kills fast. Don't set
yourself up for a stroke.
You're lucky. The World Trade Tower that was hit LAST came down FIRST (by
more than an hour) because it did not have its structural members coated
with asbestos. You are safer from the ravages and death from fire because of
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