Decades ago, building materials containing asbestos were widely used, especially on many roofs for houses right here in Louisiana.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until people started getting sick with illnesses like mesothelioma lung cancer that the science and medical community realized asbestos fibers are actually a dangerous carcinogen that can cause serious health problems and even result in incurable cancer.
One of the building materials that were frequently used in Louisiana homes were roof tiles containing asbestos. And for Louisiana residents who live along the Gulf Coast, Southwestern Louisiana, and Southeastern Louisiana which are prone to hurricanes, having an asbestos tile roof can make them ineligible for a very helpful, free hurricane relief program funded by the federal government.
That’s just one of the reasons why it’s so important to get an asbestos inspection on your home before the next hurricane hits.
What is an Asbestos Inspection?
An asbestos inspection is a special building inspection performed by a worker known to the state of Louisiana to be certified in identifying asbestos containing materials and providing asbestos abatement. All building owners – especially homeowners – who have a home that isn’t new should have an asbestos inspection performed and maintain records of it.
Even if your home was built after 1980, the use of asbestos building materials continued, so unless you live in a relatively new home, you may be at risk for asbestos exposure and its related serious health conditions.
The state of Louisiana keeps a roster of people and companies who are certified to provide an asbestos inspection. You can find a certified asbestos inspector by going to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s website.
If your asbestos worker finds that you have asbestos in your home, it’s your responsibility as the homeowner to remove the asbestos containing material. As you’ll see below, this is especially important if you have an asbestos tile roof for those who live in areas of Louisiana prone to hurricane wind damage.
Why Should You Replace an Asbestos Tile Roof?
You should replace any asbestos containing material found in your home to reduce yours and your family’s asbestos exposure and protect your health. However, it’s especially important to replace asbestos tile roofs.
The reason is, as we in Louisiana know all too well, roofs are often damaged by hurricane-force winds. In some cases, roof damage after a hurricane can be so severe that it makes a house unlivable.
The federal government understands that in some cases, securely placing a tarp on a damaged roof can make a home livable, as you the homeowner wait for your insurance claim to be processed and for a roofer to become available to fix your roof. However, finding large enough tarps and two by fours is especially hard after a hurricane hits, when these items are in high demand. And not everyone has the physical capability to secure a tarp to their damaged roof.
For this reason, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers often manages a free FEMA program for affected homeowners after a hurricane called Operation Blue Roof. There’s one catch, though.
In order to be eligible for Operation Blue Roof, you can’t have an asbestos tile roof. This makes getting an asbestos inspection performed before the next hurricane hits (and ideally, before hurricane season even begins) so important.
While replacing an asbestos tile roof is an investment in your property, not doing so can create more severe issues if your roof is severely damaged by a hurricane. If your roof damage on your asbestos tile roof is so significant that your home is unlivable, you’ll be on your own to find a temporary roofing solution until you can complete your insurance claim and get on a roofer’s schedule for a repair or replacement.
Learn More About the Importance of Asbestos Inspections
While the threat of a hurricane is always real for Louisiana residents who live on the Gulf Coast, Southwest Louisiana, and Southeast Louisiana, there are many other reasons why you should have an asbestos inspection performed on your home, regardless of where in our state you live.
Asbestos exposures have been known to occur during and after natural disasters like the hurricanes and tornadoes we see here on the Gulf Coast. Dealing with the aftermath of a destructive storm or hurricane is already hard enough without being exposed to a lethal disease with devastating side-effects like Mesothelioma in the process.
The best form of protection is preparation.
What to do if Asbestos is Discovered During an Inspection
If the inspector verifies that there is asbestos in the building, then there are several things that might happen. If the building is your home or you are the owner, you will be responsible for asbestos removal, which is the process of replacing the components of the building that contain asbestos.
If someone else owns the building – for example, if it is an office building for the company you work for – then the owner of the building will be responsible for making the building safe to ensure public health, which includes asbestos removal. They may also be responsible for any health problems that were caused by the asbestos, whether they knew the building had asbestos containing material or not.
If your inspector does not find asbestos, then everyone involved can breathe a sigh of relief!
Contact Us When You Need To
Have you or a loved one become ill because of asbestos exposure? Call the Landry & Swarr Law Firm at 504-299-1214 to speak with one of our Louisiana asbestos attorneys via a free consultation today.