Tampa Bay Environment
It seems that we hear a lot about environmental concerns these days. Much of it is simply the result of a greater awareness than in the past. And even though there isnt anything to be concerned with in most homes, there are still a number of potential home environmental issues that buyers should be aware of.
If your water comes from a well, you should consider water testing. Typically, a basic water quality test will check pH, water hardness, the presence of fluoride, sodium, iron and manganese, plus bacteria such as E-coli. Additionally, water may be tested for the presence of lead or arsenic.
In homes built before 1978, lead based paint may be present. Generally, if the lead based paint is in good condition, not cracking or peeling, it is not a hazard as long as your children don't chew on the wood trim! If the condition is hazardous, the paint will either need to be removed or sealed in such a manner as to eliminate the hazard. If you are buying an old house, assume that lead based paint is present.
Another common environmental concern with the home is radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium in the soil. Pretty much all homes have some radon present, tests can determine if the level present is higher than what is considered safe. If the level is too high, a radon reduction system will need to be installed.
In homes built more than 30 years ago, asbestos was used in many types of insulation and other building materials. There is usually little risk from exposure in the typical home, but many potential home buyers will be scared off by the presence of asbestos. If the asbestos is releasing fibers into the air in the home, it needs to be removed or repaired by a professional contractor specializing in asbestos cleanup. But, if the asbestos material is in good repair, and not releasing fibers, it poses no hazard and can be left alone. The EPA has excellent information on asbestos and other environmental hazards.
Sick House Investigation Website - information on mold, toxins and other health hazards in buildings.
American Industrial Hygiene Association - The American Industrial Hygiene Association is one of the largest international associations serving the needs of occupational and environmental health professionals practicing industrial hygiene in industry, government, labor, academic institutions, and independent organizations.
It is recommended that you choose a home inspector who is a Certified Member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), Registered Professional Inspector with the Florida Association of Building Inspectors (FABI), and ICC code certified as a Residential Combination Inspector.