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Old 24.02.2021, 07:32
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Asbestos/Radon in the house

I have a house that was built in 1984 and I was reading that asbestos wasn't banned in Switzerland until 1989, a worse than that didn't really take effect until 1994 it seems.

https://www.bafu.admin.ch/bafu/en/ho.../asbestos.html

How lightly is it that asbestos was used in the construction? Is it worth getting it tested? Do I need to do so if rent the place out?

Same question on radon? I can find map of its presence in Switzerland, which seems very low in the area? What is the risk/problem here? Do I need to get it tested to rent it out?
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Old 24.02.2021, 08:49
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

Asbestos per se isn't dangerous. It's if it gets degraded it's a problem, and when it's being removed the workers have to take special precautions. In some cases it's safer to leave it.
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Old 24.02.2021, 09:47
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

As far as I know there is no need to disclose anything.

The deal with radon is that it increases the risk for lung cancer. It is heavier than air and thus collects in the basement (it also comes out of the ground).

Information on radon and the situation in Switzerland:
https://www.bag.admin.ch/dam/bag/en/...rt-311-346.pdf


Regarding asbestos the information is only available in the three main languages:
http://www.forum-asbest.ch/
https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/de/home...-z/asbest.html
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Old 24.02.2021, 09:50
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

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Asbestos per se isn't dangerous. It's if it gets degraded it's a problem, and when it's being removed the workers have to take special precautions. In some cases it's safer to leave it.
It is nevertheless something you need to be aware of, so as for example not to drill holes into that particular wall for example.
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Old 24.02.2021, 09:55
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

Radon started to become an issue AFAIK in the 1980s when newer windows and thermal insulation reduced natural ventilation to the point that radon couldn't get out of your appartment. I think the Scandinavian countries were the first to raise awareness of this, maybe because they were also ahead of the others in making their houses airtight. Radon is emitted by certain types of rock and soil more than others, with I think granite being a particularly bad culprit. I think there are actual statistics showing a weak correlation between cancer deaths and areas with granite in the subsoil.

But the good news is that you can mitigate the risk through regular ventilation. Which is a good idea even without radon.
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Old 24.02.2021, 11:18
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

Switzerland is full of granite and other radon producing rock, so this is normal. Just air out your basement.

Asbestos, don't bother it and it won't bother you.

Tom
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Old 24.02.2021, 11:27
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

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Switzerland is full of granite and other radon producing rock, so this is normal. Just air out your basement.

Asbestos, don't bother it and it won't bother you.

Tom
The whole world is full of granite. But, at what depth? Here in the foggy flatlands of NE CH granite is quite deep. Radon is a very localized issue, problems for people living in the mountains.

Radon map of Switzerland:

https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home...ebiete-ch.html

@markalex, I remember you once mentioned your coding experience, maybe have fun making your own radon detector with a raspberry Pi https://www.digikey.com/en/maker/pro...72187e8924f831
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Old 24.02.2021, 12:12
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

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Radon started to become an issue AFAIK in the 1980s when newer windows and thermal insulation reduced natural ventilation to the point that radon couldn't get out of your appartment. I think the Scandinavian countries were the first to raise awareness of this, maybe because they were also ahead of the others in making their houses airtight. Radon is emitted by certain types of rock and soil more than others, with I think granite being a particularly bad culprit. I think there are actual statistics showing a weak correlation between cancer deaths and areas with granite in the subsoil.

But the good news is that you can mitigate the risk through regular ventilation. Which is a good idea even without radon.
It was discovered to be a problem when an employee at a nuclear power plant triggered a detector one morning upon arrival for the work day. It got traced to his home in upstate New York, which upon investigation was contaminated with, you guessed it, Radon.

Oh by the way its also in the drinker water of several alpine communities and in most mineral waters. Cheers!

As for asbestos. It was used as a miracle material for most anything. In the kitchen it was used to cushion the floor below the vinyl. Also got used to insulate the wood around the stove, in which case, usually openly exposed.

My recommendation: Since your house was built in 1984. Get an expert. There are certain types of asbestos that are never stabil and easy get released. Especially if exposed after installation.

Last edited by robBob; 24.02.2021 at 12:27.
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Old 24.02.2021, 13:28
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

Thanks, we are in one of the pink-red zones (hard to say which from the map, though they did send us a tester some years ago).

Looking at the site, which allows more details, home is pink (we are on the top 5th floor), rustico (which has no basement is red), so no worries for us!

Tom
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Old 24.02.2021, 14:03
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

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I have a house that was built in 1984 and I was reading that asbestos wasn't banned in Switzerland until 1989, a worse than that didn't really take effect until 1994 it seems.

https://www.bafu.admin.ch/bafu/en/ho.../asbestos.html

How lightly is it that asbestos was used in the construction? Is it worth getting it tested? Do I need to do so if rent the place out?

Same question on radon? I can find map of its presence in Switzerland, which seems very low in the area? What is the risk/problem here? Do I need to get it tested to rent it out?
after 1980 less likely asbestos being used. The main pain is if you do renovation and the Commune may ask you about it. They may ask for a test to be done and if there is and it will be disturbed you have to provide the necessary evidence its been removed in a safe manner - you can't just chuck it down the dechetterie.

Getting Asbestos removed is expensive, we have had it done three times and it really costs, several thousand.

Finally, its not that dangerous. drilling a hole in the wall isnt going to make any difference to your health. drilling 50 holes in isnt.

People die of asbestos related problems when they work in the related industry, like building, roofing, insulating and they have prolonged exposure to it. best way is to think of it like cigarettes. If you get hammered and smoke 40 marlborough reds over the weekend are you going to die of cancer ? No. If you smoke 10 marlborough lights for 20 years ? yes, possibly.
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Old 24.02.2021, 17:27
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

A cousin from USA, an Indy-driver legend- has just died aged 94. He was diagnosed with COPD - lung disease about 10 years back. Apparently because as a mechanic on the cars, working on the brakes especially, which contained asbestos. They never wore masks, of course.

Last edited by JackieH; 24.02.2021 at 21:25.
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Old 24.02.2021, 19:58
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

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after 1980 less likely asbestos being used. The main pain is if you do renovation and the Commune may ask you about it. They may ask for a test to be done and if there is and it will be disturbed you have to provide the necessary evidence its been removed in a safe manner - you can't just chuck it down the dechetterie.

Getting Asbestos removed is expensive, we have had it done three times and it really costs, several thousand.

Finally, its not that dangerous. drilling a hole in the wall isnt going to make any difference to your health. drilling 50 holes in isnt.
No quite. A lot of builders, being cheap bastards, were using it right up till the designated ban date.
As for getting cancer from it, think of it more like the chance of pregnancy due to intercourse. Once is enough. However the likelihood of one time is lower then that of daily exposure. But one fiber is all it needs. So roll up your windows and close your vents the next time you drive past a demolition. Or into any big Swiss town. Oh did I forget to mention that it was also used in old train cars?
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Old 24.02.2021, 20:29
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

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A cousin from USA, an Indy-driver legend- has just died aged 90. He was diagnosed with COPD - lung disease about 10 years back. Apparently because as a mechanic on the cars, working on the brakes especially, which contained asbestos. They never wore masks, of course.
Thus, not serious.

Tom
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Old 24.02.2021, 20:37
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

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No quite. A lot of builders, being cheap bastards, were using it right up till the designated ban date.
As for getting cancer from it, think of it more like the chance of pregnancy due to intercourse. Once is enough. However the likelihood of one time is lower then that of daily exposure. But one fiber is all it needs. So roll up your windows and close your vents the next time you drive past a demolition. Or into any big Swiss town. Oh did I forget to mention that it was also used in old train cars?
Didnít realize about 1980ís rob thatís really eye opening. For dosage I donít totally agree but the asbestos.com site kind of puts us somewhere in the middle https://www.asbestos.com/exposure/short-term/

Btw one thing to be aware of for all: if you take off asbestos yourself and then chuck it away and the commune or canton find out, your in a world of pain. Bear the risk in mind...
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Old 24.02.2021, 22:21
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

The father of a friend on mine died aged 64 from mesothalisoma caused by asbestos exposure when he was working for the UK merchant navy. At the time of his death, the UK government had put in place a generous compensation scheme for families of the deceased. Except if the victim worked for the British Government at the time of exposure. For example, in the merchant navy...
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Old 25.02.2021, 13:52
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

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... if you take off asbestos yourself and then chuck it away and the commune or canton find out, your in a world of pain. Bear the risk in mind...
I do not think you actually are allowed to do it yourself - as far I done some renovation - I had to confirm prior that there is no asbestos and should it be - it would require specialised company (similar as it's for flammable items) to dismount it and dispose it.
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Old 25.02.2021, 16:08
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Re: Asbestos/Radon in the house

Asbestos and vintage cars:

''Awareness training is becoming common for occupations that still run the risk of exposure, such as mechanics, construction workers, and abatement professionals. Second-hand asbestos exposure has become a growing trend in mesothelioma cases. Asbestos fibers can travel through the contact with loved ones who regularly encountered asbestos. Asbestos fibers will linger, sticking to clothing, skin, and hair.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Mesothelioma is proven to be caused by exposure to asbestos. This rare disease has no known cure and has a poor prognosis. Among the various communities impacted by this disease, professionals and hobbyists in the automotive field are at a higher risk of exposure to this silent killer.

Owners of classic cars who tinker with do-it-yourself repairs can also be at significant risk for asbestos-exposure and the long-term onset of this asbestos-related disease. Professional and preventative tools should be used when repairing, restoring, or replacing auto parts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published best practices for preventing asbestos exposure during brake and clutch repair. OSHA has also taken a stance to inform and protect those who undergo automotive work, issuing best practices to manage asbestos dust from classic car and motorcycle brakes and clutches.''
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