Are You in Danger?

The best way to determine if you have asbestos, lead, or other hazards in your home is with a professional inspection. Many inspectors are now certified to recognize materials that cause health issues and to take samples for analysis. Dan Steward, president of Pillar to Post, a nationwide inspection company, says you can expect to pay around $100 for each sample taken; a house could require just a few samples or a dozen, depending on size and variations in materials.

If toxins are found, a professional known as an industrial hygienist can draw up a comprehensive remediation plan, with digital photos, for about $1,200. Neither the hygienist nor the inspector should be someone who also performs abatement, which could present a conflict of interest.

For the actual abatement, you may need to hire a licensed abatement pro, depending on your local laws. The cost—averaging between $2,500 and $5,000 for a two-day job, according to Brian Fitzsimons, president of Dec-Tam—may seem high. But keep in mind that the contractor has the added expense of specialized training and insurance for this dangerous work, a small price to pay to maintain your family's long-term health.
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