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California Home Asbestos FAQs and Your Rights

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Asbestos is an insulating material that is heat and fire resistant. In the past, asbestos was used widely in the:

  • Building industry
  • Ship building industry
  • Manufacture of household appliances
  • Motor industry
  • Power stations
  • Telephone exchanges

Prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause various cancers, including a lung cancer called mesothelioma. While cases of mesothelioma occur in men who have worked in manufacturing using asbestos or who have used asbestos products, some homeowners may also be at risk… especially if they are living in an environment with hidden asbestos.

Here are some common frequently asked questions California homeowners have about asbestos and the potential problems it can cause.

I may have some asbestos in my home, how do I test for it?

In California and many other states you must hire a Licensed or Certified Asbestos Consultant to do the test. In California, Nevada and many other states it is illegal for a Licensed Contractor to collect samples or test for asbestos. California Business and Professions Code specifically states 7180(e). No licensed contractor or asbestos abatement contractor may provide professional health and safety services or perform any asbestos risk assessment. Only a licensed California Asbestos Consultant (CAC) or a Certified Site Surveillance Technician (CSST) working under the direction of a CAC can collect asbestos samples or as the law says perform any asbestos risk assessment.

What about the home asbestos test kits?

IMHO They are a real waste of your money, and dangerous to boot. Have a licensed person conduct the testing.

I am a tenant and my landlord has told me that there may be some asbestos in home I am renting from him, but he has not told me where or provided me with any other information?

Under California Health and Safety Code the building owner is required to provide that information to you, including any and all studies that were conducted to find asbestos material and where the material may be located in the building. The Code is California Health & Safety Code Section 25249.6. Required Warning Before Exposure To Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer Or Reproductive Toxicity. No person in the course of doing business shall knowingly and intentionally expose any individual to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without first giving clear and reasonable warning to such individual, except as provided in Section 25249.10. This code is also know as Proposition 65. The property does not qualify for an exemption based on the recent findings of positive asbestos content in the wall components.  Asbestos has some other requirements under CAL. HSC. CODE § 25915 : California Code – Section 25915.

Recent construction activities have occurred. The contractor was not a licensed contractor, and I am pretty certain that there is asbestos in my building. What should I do?

Based on the assumption that you have confirmed knowledge that the building material is greater than 0.1 per cent a violation of the code has happened, that violation could have endangered you, your family and friends. Please refer to https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/341%5F6.html . The code is specific Any employer or contractor engaging in asbestos-related work by disturbing more than 100 square feet of asbestos-containing construction material (greater than 0.1 percent asbestos by weight) during the course of work at a single worksite must be registered. Notify all persons potentially exposed to asbestos, identify the persons who conducted the work or demolition. Notify Both EPA and Cal OSHA that a spill has happened. The cognizant person must accomplish these steps as soon as possible. The Code section is as follows. The CCLA (Penal Code section 387) provides that anyone “who is a manager with respect to a product, facility, equipment, process, place of employment, or business practice” is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony if they: (1) have actual knowledge of a serious concealed danger; and (2) fail to report that danger to the affected employees and the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Violation of the Act is punishable by up to three years in state prison and a $25,000 fine.

What do I need to do to find if I have asbestos in the place that I am renting?

Contact your landlord and obtain form them all required notices tests and reports. The Building should have a public notice posted under this code section. Contact an Attorney who has knowledge in regards to your legal remedies for the landlords failure to notify and the impact of that failure to notify on you and your family.


Many people who develop mesothelioma – or any other illness – due to asbestos exposure may be able to file a California asbestos claim for compensation. It is important to talk to a San Diego Personal Injury Attorney about this as early as possible.

Source: DNA Industrial Hygiene


Steven Elia

Steven Elia

Mr. Elia has extensive litigation experience having appeared at more than 1,000 civil hearings including jury and bench trials, over 500 depositions, and hundreds of mediations. Some of his cases have made national headlines. He specializes in personal injury, business law and civil litigation in and around San Diego.
Steven Elia
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Elia Law Firm, APC

2221 Camino Del Rio S, Ste. 207, San Diego,CA92108

(619) 444-2244