Can you sell a house with asbestos in Utah? If you’re over the age of 40, you’ve probably heard about asbestos warnings. You’ve probably seen the ads and know it was once used in construction and buildings. You probably know it’s a health risk. But have you ever stopped to wonder why? Just what is asbestos? How common is it still today? And just what makes it so dangerous? These are just a few questions we’ll answer in today’s article.
If you think there’s no potential way your home could have asbestos… what you don’t know may surprise you.
What Is Asbestos?
If you have the pop corn type ceiling with the little reflective things in it, most likely you have asbestos in your house. Even if you don’t have the reflective things, you could still have asbestos.
Contrary to popular belief, asbestos is not a man made substance. It’s a naturally occurring mineral deposit which was frequently valued as early as the nineteenth century as a construction material on account of both its durability, its flexibility, its relative abundance and above all, the fact that it proved to be one of the most effective flame retardants available.
Utah in particular was known to be rich in asbestos deposits, with estimated mines and sites at one point to be over a hundred. Today, there are only seven.
Beginning as early as the 1920s, health warnings began to be linked to high level asbestos exposure. Its hazards began receiving widespread exposure shortly after World War II, when new home developments were on the rise and the need for contractors to find a cheap, durable construction material was at an all time high. It was thought that the Toxic Substances Act issued by the EPA in 1989 would ban its usage altogether; but the act was overturned by judicial decision, leaving only a handful of asbestos products outlawed.
Yes, you read that right. Despite asbestos being banned in over 50 countries, the United States has not effectively outlawed the use of asbestos. Even in spite of health warnings and definitively proven connections to mesothelioma, lung cancer and other respiratory disease.
“Asbestos product manufacturers filed a lawsuit against the EPA in the landmark case Corrosion Proof Fittings v. Environmental Protection Agency. On Oct. 18, 1991, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ban, claiming the EPA failed to demonstrate that a ban was the “least burdensome alternative” to regulating asbestos.” (source)
That’s the bad news. The good news?
Asbestos only presents a hazard when fibers are released into the air; and many structures have been found to contain levels which are relatively safe. While the use of asbestos is subject to both federal law, there’s a rapidly decreasing amount of manufacturers in the U.S. who actively use it (even as a compound,) as much out of the concern for the health and safety of customers and employees as for the fear of potential lawsuits.
This is especially true with the recent development of synthetic and alternative materials that can prove almost as durable and effective as asbestos in preventing fire. Even better news is that asbestos only becomes a hazard when fibers are released into the air. And while Utah has yet to ban or even severely restrict its usage, it has established a complex set of regulations regarding the removal of asbestos.
Utah Law And Asbestos Removal
Laws regarding asbestos removal are subject to the Utah Asbestos Rule with one notable exception—homeowners. Federal laws help keep Utah homeowners exempt from state commercial asbestos laws, such as notification and usage of a contractor (with the sole exception of instances of notable physical hazard.) In fact, homeowners can even do it themselves.
Asbestos removal isn’t exactly as simple as stripping paint. Remember, you’re dealing with a highly toxic mineral, traces of which can linger long after removal.
Asbestos primarily causes a problem when fibers are released into the air, which leads many people to assume just because a ceiling or floor tiles are in good condition, a home built prior to the mid-1970s (when asbestos use in construction faced a sharp decline) is relatively safe.
Sometimes, that may be the case. But while a laboratory service can analyze samples and give you a fair assessment of your asbestos level, only a home inspection service can tell you just how severely you might be at risk.
It may be that despite a minimal level of asbestos being found, you’re not at risk for any potential health hazard. But if you’re looking to sell your home, an inspector is legally required to indicate its presence in their report—even in minute quantities. Even if you fail to disclose its presence, rest assured an inspector will.
The least hazardous solution would be to hire an asbestos removal specialist. It may seem simple—but it’s not necessarily inexpensive. Or efficient. The state of Utah requires asbestos removal contractors to be fully licensed and certified.
More often than not, you’re going to be dealing with the same qualified specialists who are tackling commercial and industrial removal of hazardous materials. Not only can their costs be commensurate, but their time and effort can as well. It can take literally weeks, if not months, and thousands of dollars for a removal service to fully abate any trace of asbestos.
Can Asbestos Prevent Me From Selling My Home?
Not necessarily. While an inspector is legally required to indicate any trace of asbestos, there is very little to prevent it being purchased or donated as part of an estate. For example, you may have inherited your home. Or you may have purchased it fully aware of the potential for asbestos. You may have already known about the hazards of asbestos and ordered a test prior to purchasing to ensure levels were relatively safe.
That doesn’t mean the next buyer will feel so secure. But… be honest. If you were in the market to buy, how would you feel about receiving an inspection report telling you the home of your dreams contained asbestos?
That isn’t intended to discourage you. By working with us at GaryBuysHouses we buy Utah houses in “as is” condition including homes with asbestos. We will give you a fair cash price alleviating you of the worry of having to hire a home inspectors or expensive asbestos removal and renovation services.