Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: Our home was built in 1978 and, until recently, had acoustic “cottage cheese” ceilings. My friend helped to scrape off the ceiling texture and a week later developed a sore throat. Now he fears that he has been adversely affected by breathing asbestos. Is this a valid concern? Amy

Dear Amy: Scraping a 1978 ceiling without having it tested for asbestos was not a wise course of action. However, there are no short-term health effects associated with asbestos exposure. The only documented cases of asbestos related disease involve people who were subject to repeated, long-term exposure. The damaging effects attributed to asbestos are lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.

Your friend’s recent sore throat is not likely to be asbestos-related.