Mesothelioma Information   SUBMIT

Hey folks, I've recently purchased my first home and have come across a lot of asbestos concerns and, unfortunately, actual asbestos. I had too many restless night with endless googling and wondering if I was going to die in 40 years from mesothelioma. I ended up on here a lot and wanted to share the info I've gathered and what you can do if you come across asbestos in your home renos. Disclaimer: I am not a professional. Any information I've received from an actual professional will be bolded. *Where might I find asbestos in my home?* Apparently in almost every aspect of the goddamn house. I learned this the hard way. It can be in your floor tiles, mastic, ceiling tiles, insulation, roofing, siding, etc. * [Full list from the EPA on where it can be found]( *Does this look like asbestos to you?* Literally no one in the world can tell just by looking with the naked eye, especially not by a picture. There are materials that are more than likely to contain asbestos (looking at you, bastard 9x9 floor tiles) and should be treated as such until you know for certain. It's always easier to be cautious than panic later and start planning your funeral while reaching out to Doug from the mesothelioma commercials for support. Trust me on that one. *What do I do if I think I've found asbestos?* It depends on what you might have found it in and what you want to do with it. If you're thinking of doing anything at all with it, think about getting it tested. Tests are cheap and you can send samples in yourself. I was able to have results for a sample within 24 hours and it was $120. If you have time to wait, the cost decreases significantly. * Floor tiles: If they're in good shape, you can cover over them. Carpet is fine, people do floating floors. You have options, please don't think you have to rip it up just because they're there. **In most cases, it's safer to leave the tiles in place and cover rather than disturb them by taking them up**. If your tiles are disintegrating, you'll want to weigh the option of removing them. * Ceilings: This goes for both acoustic ceiling tiles and popcorn ceilings. Yeah, that shits ugly. I don't know anyone who has walked into a room and said "man I LOVE popcorn ceilings!" But here's the thing: you're not going to be staring at the ceiling your entire life. Give the popcorn ceiling sometime before you rush to remove it. If you have acoustic ceiling tiles in good condition, you can certainly keep them. * Insulation: This one is a little more tricky. From what I've researched (and please let me know if I'm wrong), vermiculite is what you might have to worry about most. If you're not sure, GET IT TESTED, I wouldn't play with that shit. **There was a trust created two years ago for homeowners by W.R. Grace called the [Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust.]( It will pay claimants up to $150 of the testing fees to confirm it was mined in Libby Mine in Montana and will provide a reimbursement contribution of up to 55% of the abatement costs for eligible claimants.** Take advantage of it if you can. * Other materials: Same logic applies. If it's in good condition, keep it if you can. If you're going to be doing work, think about getting it tested so you know. If it's positive and you need/want it gone, take your next steps and get it removed. *Do I have to disclose if I get it tested and it's positive?* More than likely, yes. Don't lie, no one likes a fraud, and you can get in fuckloads of trouble if it's determined you lied about it. Will it scare homebuyers? It's possible. Encapsulation is something millions of homeowners have done - it's safe (if done properly) and normal. If you have things that are easily visible like popcorn ceilings or acoustic ceiling tiles, or exposed VAT, any decent inspector is going to point that out as possible asbestos to the home buyer anyways. *Can I remove it myself?* Honestly, it depends. I'm too much of an anxiety prone freak to even think of DIY asbestos removal in my house, but loads of homeowners have done it and taken the necessary safety precautions. This also varies based on the material and your state. For example, some states may allow you to remove your 300sqft VAT and dump at a proper site, some restrict you to 100sqft or less, some are very, very strict if it's in the roofing or siding. If you're thinking of a DIY removal, check out your state sites - some states will even provide a homeowners guideline for removal based on the material. Please don't be that douchebag that knowingly dumps asbestos material in your regular trash if it's not allowed. It doesn't just go away once it leaves your house, you're putting other people at risk by being lazy. *I accidentally cracked 1-20 VAT tiles on my floor. Am I going to die?* You're probably more likely to get hit by a bus than you are to develop mesothelioma from short-term exposure. Your VAT tiles (and the mastic underneath) are most likely to be dangerous when you're jackhammering/sanding/blasting the fuck out of them. If you want some piece of mind, keep things wet while you're working and use proper gear. The danger *may* come from fibers that remain if they are released. Short term exposure becomes long-term if they're chilling in your house, but by no means does this put you at the level of risk that the asbestos mine workers were at. *I may have spread fibers in a small area, what do I do?* **Because they're so small, you can't really see exactly where the fibers have traveled. That means they could be picked up on your shoes, clothes, in your vents, etc. While it depends on how large of an exposure there was, this doesn't mean you have to burn the house down.** I've been given the advice to wipe all surfaces with lightly damp rags, get some HEPA filters, get an air quality test if there's lots of concern. If it's really bad, you can contact a company to do some clean up for you (including some negative air pressure stuff). *I have material I think contains asbestos and broke/spilled it everywhere. How do I clean it up?* For the love of god don't try to sweep/dust it or vacuum with a regular vaccum. If it's loose and small enough, use some lightly damp rags to pat it up. Don't try to vacuum it up unless you have a vacuum specifically rated for asbestos. I've read stories of people trashing their $500 Dyson vacuums because they were too afraid to keep it after using it on what might be asbestos. *How much does professional removal cost?* A fuckton. A massive fuckton. It depends on what the material is, but I've gotten estimates as high as $25/sqft. I'm having 375sqft of positive asbestos floor tile (no asbestos detected in the mastic) removed professionally and it's going to run me $2.5k. Could I do it myself? Probably, but I would rather pay for peace of mind and the professional removal. I also won't have to worry about it if I ever sell the house. Some companies have high minimums just due to the cost of equipment, permits, etc. *Will Doug from the mesothelioma commercials be ok?* This is more my question for you guys - is that guy still alive? I'm obviously not an expert by any means, but these are questions I had when going through this shit and wish it was in one place rather than going to a million different sites so I thought this could be useful for the next person. If I've gotten anything drastically wrong, let me know and I'll edit. Thanks for all of the help and (temporary) peace of mind you guys have unknowingly given me since November.