My Public Service Announcement

You know those moments, days, conversations which make you realize that you are in the right field? That confirm your passion and revitalize your cause. Well, this week that happened for me. My beautiful aunt, and godmother, was diagnosed with Mesothelioma Lung cancer; which is caused by Asbestos.
As I began my undergraduate degree in Architecture we learned about common materials used in practice. I took a Life Cycle Analysis course which went over (from extraction to disposal) the life of products. My group chose a sustainable product, while many others chose common products such as laundry detergent. We found in gathering the materials for this report was much easier than that of 'non-green' products. We also were able to completely recycle and reuse our products while many others had remaining toxins.


That made the wheels in my noggin turn, wondering why we didn't always use these more sustainable products. Now, I understand that cost is the ever present under-lying issue in this argument. But lets take a look at the larger picture: Indoor Air Quality. We spend an obscene amount of time indoors, whether at work or at home. You know, we are inside while we are sleeping, sniffing air and all. So why, oh why, create a space made from harmful toxins? Drywall, Plaster, Vinyl Flooring, Caulk, Pipe Insulation and popcorn ceilings ALL have Chrysotile, which account for 95% of Asbestos found in buildings. With little exposure this is fine, but breathing it in for 5+ years while you are sleeping, not so fine.

Houses built before the 1989 Ban and Phase Out of Asbestos need to be tested. Although removal of these products can be expensive, the long term health risk factors out weigh this immensely. According to the EPA  "the costs of initial treatment [of Lung cancer] ($26,042) during the first three months, and then incur nine months’ worth of maintenance care costs (0.75 × $11,325 = $8,494) during the remainder of the year. The total cost incurred during the first year by those therefore $26,042 + $8,493 = $34,535."

As for the cost of removing the Asbestos: "If your home has asbestos in the ceilings, floors, walls, roof, and pipes your asbestos removal cost for a complete job could be as high as $20,000 or more. However, this is an extreme case when asbestos is found everywhere. The typical asbestos removal cost for a 2,000 square foot home will usually be about $2,000 to $4,000 because the hazardous material can either be contained instead of removed, or will only be present in a few areas" (asbestos). If 'green' products are out of your price range, there are a multitude of 'sortof green' or 'this is better than what you currently have' kind of products.

If you are someone wondering if you have Asbestos in your house, or have further questions go here. Get a contractor out for a free estimate, or purchase a $30 kit to test it yourself. If you decide to test it yourself make sure you place the test strip in the most used space in your basement away from any furnace supply or return area. Keep your self, and your family healthy by improving your Indoor Air Quality today. This is a Public Service Announcement sponsored by Jenn by Design.

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