When Is It Appropriate to Test for Lead and Asbestos?

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When Is It Appropriate to Test for Lead and Asbestos?

It’s not every day that you think of lead and asbestos poisoning and their gruesome aftermath. But did you know these dangers could be lurking around your home? 

If your home was built before 1978 or built with any suspect materials, you could be at risk. Left undisturbed, asbestos and lead paint can pose little to no danger to your health. When disturbed, materials with asbestos and lead paint pose a grave threat to human and animal health.

To keep contractors safe, OSHA requires contractors to conduct a lead test and an asbestos test before they can work on a house built before 1978 (note: this doesn’t mean that asbestos doesn’t exist in newer homes, so regardless of your home’s age, it’s wise to have it tested for asbestos). 


What is Asbestos? 

Asbestos is a natural mineral comprising tiny flexible fibers widely used in the construction industry. Asbestos is resistant to heat, corrosion, and electricity, making it an effective insulator. It can be added to other materials such as plastic, cement, paper, and cloth, making them stronger. 

However, when you breathe in the asbestos dust, the microscopic fibers are permanently trapped in your lungs. Over time, the fibers wreck your body leading to inflammation, scarring, genetic damage, and various types of cancer. 

Exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer, and asbestosis, a progressive lung disease.

What Is Lead Poisoning? 

Lead poisoning is a severe health condition that results from a lead buildup in your body. Lead accumulation in the body happens over months or years, taking a heavy toll on your health and wellbeing. Children under the age of six years are highly vulnerable to lead poisoning. 

You’re likely to get lead poisoning from lead-based paint and dust contaminated with lead. Air, water, and soils contaminated with lead may also cause lead poisoning. Construction workers who do home renovations are at a higher risk of lead poisoning. 

Where Are You Likely to Find Asbestos? 

Due to its exceptional fiber strength and heat resistance qualities, asbestos is mainly used as a fire retardant and an insulating material. It’s also used to manufacture building materials such as floor tile, roof shingles, paper products, ceiling, and cement. 

Asbestos is likely to be found in:

  • Wall and attic insulation
  • Popcorn ceilings 
  • Sidings and roofing shingles 
  • Hot water and steam pipes
  • Composite floor tiles
  • Drywall mud
  • Floors and walls around wood-burning stoves and furnaces
  • Textured paints used in walls and ceilings

Where Are You Likely to Find Lead In the Home?

Lead paint is found in millions of homes built before 1978. The paint is often buried under layers of newer paint. 

Lead-based paint was commonly used on the walls and ceilings of a building. If the paint is in great shape, there’s a diminished risk of contracting lead poisoning. However, the risk is magnified when the paint starts to deteriorate. Peeling, chalking, chipping, cracking, water, and physical damage increase the risk of lead exposure. 

Lead-based paint is especially hazardous when used on easy to reach places such as:

  • Window and window sills
  • Doors and doorframes
  • Banisters, stairs, porches, and railings. 

Avoiding Asbestos and Lead Poisoning in Your Home 

While the law requires contractors working on a house built before 1978 to test for lead and asbestos, there’s no strict enforcement of these requirements. It’s tempting to skip this step and get right to work. However, that can prove to be a huge mistake. 

Construction workers increase the likelihood of being exposed to asbestos and lead poisoning by tearing down walls, ceilings, insulation, and roof shingles, and can potentially expose you and your household to these toxic materials. 

The dust resulting from the worksite will be contaminated with lead and asbestos, putting your health in grave danger. So, be sure to ask your contractor to test for asbestos and lead keeps all parties – you and your family and the contractors – safe. 


At Green Clean, we specialize in restoring your home to its original condition after an unfortunate incident. We’ll help you eradicate the traces of water, smoke, and fire damage from your abode. 

We’ll test your home for lead and asbestos before embarking on a restoration project. We outsource this service to our trusted partners at Eco Shaylee, a licensed Asbestos Inspector, Asbestos Supervisor, Lead tester, and Mold inspector. We’ve worked with them for years and trust them to conduct quick and accurate tests while remaining impartial. Lead testing is instantaneous, while asbestos test results take one business day. 

Contact us today to learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family during your next restoration project. 

-Green Clean Team