Anyone renovating a home built before the 1980s should be aware of the possibility of asbestos in many of the building materials. If there is a doubt, the suspect materials should be tested and, if found, removed by a certified abatement company.
The royal family of Prince William and Kate have been going through the asbestos abatement process for many months leading up to their move to Kensington Palace this Fall. Their 21-room apartment at Kensington Palace was gutted for a number of updates including replacement of plumbing and boilers, re-wiring of all the electrical, and the removal of asbestos. In addition to asbestos found in those utility areas, the mineral was also removed from the voids between floors and in the basement floor ducts. There had been no work on the palace since a refurbishment in the early 1960s.
With a new baby arriving at any time, the royal couple is wise in removing the hazardous material from their home and offices. Since asbestos was used in such a variety of materials, it’s likely to be found someplace in most homes built from the 1940s through the 1970s. Generally while undisturbed it poses no threat, but in a remodeling situation fibers can be released which can be inhaled and create a threat for lung cancer and mesothelioma – even 50 years after the event.
This is a caution for all DIY homeowners. Be alert to possible dangers. If asbestos is found, do not try to remove it yourself – this is a job for abatement professionals. Be smart and protect your health and the health of those around you.