Our job as your professional home inspector is to alert you, to the extent possible, to unknown conditions and potential
environmental hazards in your current or potential house. Ours is a non-invasive visual inspection of your property. While
we may be able to alert you to possible hazard, our basic inspections are no substitutes for specialized contaminant testing.
If we do detect any possible environmental issues during our visual inspection, we will refer you to a specialized inspector
for an in-depth examination and testing of your property.
The following information is provided to increase your
awareness and knowledge of these potential hazards.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber
that can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the
past, asbestos was added to many products to strengthen them and provide fire resistance and heat insulation. If disturbed,
asbestos material may release asbestos fibers which can be inhaled into the lungs. Asbestos material that crumbles easily
if handled or which has been scraped, sawed, or sanded into a powder is more likely to create a health hazard. Breathing high
levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer of lining of chest and abdominal
cavity), and asbestosis (lungs scarred with the tissue). Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos insulation.
Most of today’s products do not contain asbestos. If asbestos material is more than slightly damaged or you plan changes
that might disturb it, you require a professional for repair and removal. Before home remodeling, find out if asbestos is
Excerpts from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “Asbestos and Vermiculite”.
Lead is a highly toxic metal used for many years in products in and around
homes. Lead’s adverse health effects range from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death.
Because their bodies are growing quickly, children age 6 and under are at greatest risk. Primary sources of lead exposure
for children are deteriorating lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated residential soil. Lead might
be present in any home built up until the 1940s. Rarely found in source water, lead can enter tap water through corrosion
of plumbing materials. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, joints, and solder. New homes are also
at risk: even legally “lead-free” pipes can contain up to 8 percent lead and leave significant amounts of lead
in the water for the first several months after installation. Since the 1980s, EPA and its federal partners have banned or
limited lead used in consumer products, including residential paint. Federal regulations limiting the amount of lead in paint
sold for residential use started in 1978. If your property was built before 1978 or you are considering remodeling, renovating,
or repair, you may wish to think about lead inspection. Water quality can be compromised by such other trace elements as iron,
excess acidity, manganese, calcium, magnesium, mineral salts, hydrogen sulfide, selenium, chromium, arsenic, mercury, and
Excerpts from U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, “Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil”.
Mold (fungi) is present everywhere, indoors and outdoors. There are more than
100,000 species of mold, at least 1,000 of which are common in America. Species of Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus
are some of the most commonly found species. Mold most likely grows in bathrooms, basements, and anywhere else where there
is dampness or water. Many types of mold routinely encountered aren’t hazardous to healthy individuals. Too much exposure
to mold may cause a worsening of such conditions as asthma, hay fever, or other allergies. Fevers and breathing problems in
a vulnerable individual are possible but unusual. When moldy material becomes damaged or disturbed, spores, which are reproductive
bodies similar to seeds, can be released into the air. Exposure can occur if people inhale the spores, directly handle moldy
material, or accidentally ingest the spores. Since all molds need water to grow, mold can grow almost anywhere where there
is high humidity, dampness, or water damage. Most often molds are confined to areas near the water source. Removing the source
of moisture through repairs or dehumidification is crucial in preventing mold growth. Correcting underlying water damage and
cleaning the affected area is the best way to treat mold. If mold contamination is extensive, a professional abatement company
may be needed. Excerpts from The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Environmental &
Occupational Disease Epidemiology, “Facts About Mold”.
Radon is a radioactive gaseous element produced in the disintegration of radium,
a radioactive metallic element. It cannot be detected by the senses and can be confirmed only by sophisticated instruments
and laboratory tests. The gas enters a house through pores and cracks in the concrete or through floorboards of poorly ventilated
crawlspaces, especially when wet ground allows the gas to escape easily through the soil and disperse in the atmosphere. Radon
is a lung carcinogen: the National Academy of Sciences estimates radon causes some 15,000 to 22,000 lung cancer deaths annually.
The U.S. Surgeon General and the EPA recommend all houses be tested for radon. Houses with high radon levels can be fixed.
Excerpts from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Indoor Radon”.
, which play a positive
role in recycling wood and plant material, become a problem when they consume structural lumber. Every year thousands of U.S.
housing units require termite treatment. These pests cause serious damage to wooden structures and posts and can also attack
stored food, household furniture, and books. Successful termite management requires special skills, including a working knowledge
of building construction and an understanding of termite biology and identification. In most cases, it is advisable to hire
a professional pest control company for the inspection and control problem. Carpenter Ants
species can damage wood in building and other structures. Though ants don’t eat wood, they bore into it to make their
nests, sometimes causing serious structural damage. Also, they nest in hollow doors, cracks and crevices, furniture, wall
voids, and termite galleries. New building infestation occurs when land-cleaning in the area disturbs existing native colonies.
Excerpts from University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources, UCIPMOnline, “Statewide
Pest Management Program”.