Monday, November 29, 2010

Media uncovers hidden toxic hazards for home buyers, not caught by government regulations (asbestos, meth)

AOL is reporting today that about 35 million homes are insulated with zolonite, containing asbestos-tainted vermiculite. But according to Public Health reporter Andrew Schneider maintains that the US government refuses to offer warnings about a product in use from the 1940s to the 1990s, perhaps for “political” reasons. However, the product is not harmful if the insulation is left absolutely still and not disturbed. Working in an attic with the insulation may disturb it, and only specially equipped contractors can deal with it. Even small asbestos fiber exposures may lead to long term rare lung cancer risk. Some tile materials may also contain asbestos.

The EPA has a detailed fact sheet on the issue here.

CNN has a somewhat similar story about a family that bought a home near Philadelphia and was soon told that it had been a meth lab. The family members had some nose and throat symptoms from low level second-hand exposure. The link is here.  States generally don’t require that inspectors check for meth, but the DOJ USDA has a list of “clandestine” labs here. Home purchasers or realtors could take the initiative to check this list.

In Dallas, a garden apartment building in which I had once lived (until 1984) burned a few years after I left because of a drug lab.

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