If you’re getting ready to buy a property, don’t overlook the possible environmental problems it might have. If you buy a property that has been contaminated with hazardous/toxic materials, you’re also buying those materials and you may have to clean up the site even though you’re not responsible for the contamination. Remediation is expensive. When you purchase a property, ask about the following (this is by no means a complete list, and I only mention some common issues):
· Lead—used in paint before 1978. It was banned in 1978; a lead-based paint addendum is required for contracts on properties built before 1978; do not inhale lead dust or ingest paint;
· Radon—a natural radioactive gas that occurs naturally; it’s emitted from the ground. It can become trapped in homes, which it enters from basements, cracks in slabs, and other openings. It’s the second leading cause of lung cancer in America, according to the EPA;
· UFFI (Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation)—has not been used since 1980;
· Toxic mold could be present in homes that have been water-damaged.
· Asbestos—heat-resistant mineral used in shingles, ceiling tiles, flooring, exterior siding; do not inhale asbestos dust;
· Water quality – if you’re going to drill a well, consider water quality. How will the water taste and smell? Is it contaminated?
· Dumped or buried wastes that could be toxic
· Oak Wilt—a fungus that kills several varieties of oaks. Will be featured in our February issue.
If you have reasons to worry about the problems mentioned above or have any other environmental concerns, please consult an expert in the field. Not doing so could be costly both to your health and to your wallet. For more information, the EPA’s website is an excellent resource. Use the following link to reach the site: www.epa.gov