Bend Real Estate Blog

We provide you with the latest Bend Oregon Real Estate updates as well as general information on Bend and other real estate in Central Oregon.

May 20, 2019

What is your home worth?

Click for your instant valueWe have added a new feature to our website.  It's a free, instant property valuation.  It works anyplace in the United States including Alaska and Hawaii.  Just plug in the address and you're on your way.  This valuation uses sales from local Multiple Listing Services and city and county sale recordings.

Bend Oregon real estate has been going up in value since 2010.  This is a good tool to get a rough estimate of what your home is worth in today's market.  It is an approximate value and not as accurate as a personal market analysis Matt would do for you! Click on the picture above to find the value of your home!

If you want a more accurate analysis call or text Matt.   

April 21, 2019

Jim Johnson Retires

After 43 years in the real estate business Jim has decided to retire.  He began his career in Portland Oregon in 1976 selling homes on Portland's east side.  In 1981 he moved his family to Bend.  Jim now turns his business over to his son Matt who works for one of the top real estate companies in the nation.  Jim's clients will be well cared for by Matt.  If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Bend call or text Matt today.  541-480-2153

Jim and Matt Johnson

March 14, 2019

Radon Risk in Bend Oregon Homes

Since radon is a by-product of disintegrating rock, it is more likely to be present in rocky areas or where subterranean rock formations are known to exist, especially granite.

graphics4During a natural geologic process, rock becomes fractured and small amounts of radon are emitted. Because radon is a gas that contains a heavier molecule than oxygen, it will settle out of the air to the lowest levels of a structure when no ventilation is present to stir and move.

As radon seeps out of the soil, it enters buildings through foundation cracks, vent systems, pipe penetrations, plumbing and heat pipe ducts, and unsealed soil areas. Sometimes, the gas will be sucked into the structure because of negative pressure caused by heating systems, fireplaces, chimneys, etc. Negative pressure occurs when warm air in a house moves upward to create positive pressure in upper areas of the structure, resulting in negative pressure in lower areas where replacement air enters.

When radon mitigation is considered, all of the potential radon sources and entry paths into the structure are studied, along with the potential for introducing ventilation or adding additional ventilation in the areas with elevated radon levels.

Water can also be a source of radon gas. Municipal water supply systems are usually not a source of radon. But when the water supply for the house is a ground well through rock, or in bedrock that is releasing radon, it is possible for radon to become trapped in the water and released when the water becomes vapor, such as with a hot shower, laundry, or other steam producing uses for the water. Radon levels are known to increase as much as 200 times beyond the action level because of released radioactivity from a shower.

Measuring Radon Levels in a House

Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L), which is a measurement of the radiation contained in a liter of air.

There is no current agreement among health professionals as to an acceptable or safe level of radon exposure. In the outdoors, radon levels average 0.4 pCi/L. The EPA has a suggested "action level" of 4.0 pCi/L. The following are the EPA recommendations for various radon measurement levels in a structure:

  • A result of less than 4.0 pCi/L is considered an acceptable, no-action-required level. The average indoor radon level is believed to be 1.3 pCi/L. It should be noted that no radon level is considered "safe." The 4.0 pCi/L "action Level" is based on current mitigation technology, which can usually reduce high radon concentration levels to below 4.0 pCi/L, and down to or below 2.0 pCi/L in about 70 - 80 percent of cases. Although Congress passed legislation in 1988 establishing a goal that indoor radon levels not exceed ambient outdoor radon levels (0.2 - 0.7 pCi/L), this goal is not yet technologically achievable.

  • An annual average between 4.0 and 20.0 pCi/L would indicate that action should be taken to reduce radon within a period of a few years, or sooner.

  • An annual average between 20.0 and 200.0 pCi/L would indicate that action should be taken within a few months to reduce the levels as far below 20.0 pCi/L as possible.

  • An annual average over 200.0 pCi/L would indicate that action should be taken within several weeks to reduce levels as far below 200.0 pCi/L as possible. Immediate remedial action might also be considered.

  • Radon Levels and the Risk of Lung Cancer

    Unfortunately, many people do not perceive radon as a serious health threat. In reality, annual deaths from radon in the United States exceed deaths from drowning, fire and air crashes combined. The risk for death from radon is influenced by three factors:

    • the radon exposure level;
    • the length of time exposed to elevated levels of radon; and
    • the person's status as a non-smoker or smoker.

    If a person is a smoker, the risk of cancer at various pCi/L readings per 1000 population is as follows:

    Radon Level

    Risk per 1000 people exposed to radon level over lifetime

    20 pCi/L

    135 per 1000

    10 pCi/L

    71 per 1000

    8 pCi/L

    57 per 1000

    4 pCi/L

    29 per 1000

    2 pCi/L

    15 per 1000

    1.3 pCi/L

    9 per 1000

    0.4 pCi/L

    3 per 1000

    If a person is a non-smoker, the risk of cancer at various pCi/L readings pCi/L readings per 1000 population is as follows:

    Radon Level

    Risk per 1000 people exposed to radon level over lifetime

    20 pCi/L

    8 per 1000

    10 pCi/L

    4 per 1000

    8 pCi/L

    3 per 1000

    4 pCi/L

    2 per 1000

    2 pCi/L

    1 per 1000

    1.3 pCi/L

    less than 1 per 1000

    0.4 pCi/L

    less than 1 per 1000

    If the person is a former smoker, the relative risk will be somewhere between the smoker and non-smoker.

    I'm personally not aware of any radon in Bend Oregon Homes or real estate but that does not mean it not there.  To search for homes in Bend click on the link.
Posted in Bend Oregon, homes, Radon
Feb. 27, 2019

Radon in Homes

What is Radon?  Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is naturally present in our atmosphere. This radioactive gas is a byproduct of disintegrating rock in the ground. As the rock splits and crumbles, it releases radon gas into the air. The half-life of radon is 3.8 days. Radon is a non-reactive noble element. The radon gas itself is not the health hazard. The hazard is a result of the radioactive gas charging the minute dust particles in the air with gamma radiation. These radioactive particles are then inhaled into the human lung. In the lungs, these particles may adhere to the lung tissue, emit energy that can kill or damage sensitive cells and damage DNA molecules. The damaged lung tissue then becomes a condition conducive to developing lung cancer. The actual potential for developing lung cancer is a function of how much radon a human is exposed to and for how long. If a person is a smoker and is exposed to elevated levels of radon, the risk of contracting lung cancer is even greater.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified radon as being the second largest contributor to lung cancer in humans, right behind cigarette smoking. It is estimated that 21,000 deaths each year may be directly related to exposure to elevated levels of radon.

Any house can have a radon problem. New houses and older houses, well-sealed and drafty houses, and houses with or without basements may all be subject to elevated radon levels. The EPA estimates that nearly 1 out of 15 houses in the United States have elevated radon levels. These elevated radon levels have been found in all 50 states.

Because radon is related to naturally occurring uranium and radium found in the soil, radon levels can vary greatly within a small geographic region. Radon is less radioactive than both uranium and radium. The radon levels in any given location are related to the amount of uranium and radium found in the underlying rock structure and soil. The actual amount of radon entering a structure can be affected by the strength of the radon source, underlying soil type, water content of the soil, and empty spaces in the soil.

graphics2

  • Zone 1: Average indoor radon screening level greater than 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter)

  • Zone 2: Average indoor radon screening level between 2 and 4 pCi/L

  • Zone 3: Average indoor radon screening level less than 2 pCi/L

Radon is not considered a hazard unless it becomes concentrated in the living area of a home or work place and provides long term exposure to elevated levels. Exposure to radiation cannot be avoided and the majority of this exposure comes from natural sources. An average person's exposure to radiation in the United States comes from the following sources:

graphics3

 

Feb. 22, 2019

Cleaning Up Lead-Based Paint Problems in Bend Homes

Bend Oregon real estate brokers have a responsibility to inform their client about lead clean up. - If testing identifies the presence of lead in paint, there are various remedial options available. It should first be noted that if the lead-based paint is in good condition and not on a surface where it is likely to be disturbed (such on drawer glides), it usually is not a problem unless there is concern that a child may chew on surfaces containing the lead-based paint. However, if the paint is peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking, it should be viewed as a potential health hazard and should receive immediate attention. Possible actions to take are generally based upon the size of the area in question.

Small Areas

Scrape or sand painted surfaces to remove the deteriorating lead-based paint. Paint should be kept wet during the sanding and scraping process to minimize making the lead particles airborne. The wet scrapped waste should be properly disposed of. The surface then should be repainted with a lead-free paint.

Large areas

  • Replacement of the entire surface may be the easiest and least costly approach in some cases, as this would be especially effective where old doors, windows, trim and other woodwork can easily be replaced with new material. Some homeowners, trying to preserve old doors, windows, and millwork may not view this as an option.

  • Enclosure is another good method to abate the lead problem in large areas. The lead based paint areas are covered with wood, vinyl, drywall, paneling, or metal. This method also involves replacing doors, windows, moldings and trims. Although effective, this method can be expensive.

  • Encapsulation is probably the most cost effective and best method to abate a lead problem in a house. Encapsulation involves applying a paint-like coating over the lead-based paint surfaces. Surface preparation is similar to that used before applying ordinary paint, except that care is taken to avoid generating dust. These encapsulating products usually retail for about $35 per gallon and can reduce abatement costs by over 80 percent when compared with other abatement methods.

    Encapsulation of windows and doors will still require that lead based paint be removed prior to application of any encapsulation coating. The friction generated by opening and closing windows and doors can wear down the encapsulating coating, exposing the lead surface underneath.

  • Off-site chemical stripping is an expensive but effective way to preserve old doors, windows and millwork. This method entails removing the old material from the house and taking it to a facility where the paint is stripped from the wood using a chemical solution. If the homeowner wants to keep the old woodwork because replacement with new is not a desirable alternative, this may be the best method to abate the lead.

  • On-site paint removal is probably the least desirable alternative. If not properly done, it can increase the amount of lead dust in the house. It can get into the heat and cooling system ducts and become nearly impossible to remove. This process will also be expensive. If this method is chosen to preserve large areas of old trim, doors, or other surfaces, a qualified contractor trained in lead paint removal should be hired. The contractor should follow proper lead paint removal protocols, which require wetting the surfaces with a chemical solution and then scraping those surfaces with a wire brush, paint scraper, or other appropriate device. A thorough cleanup and proper disposal of the waste material is required.

  • Another method to remove old paint is the use of a heat gun that softens thick paint, thereby allowing it to be more easily scraped and removed. Since heating the paint can cause the lead to be vaporized, the use of a respirator is highly recommended.

    Lead in Water

    graphics5If concentrations of lead are found to exist in a home's potable water supply system, replacement of the entire potable water supply system usually is both unnecessary and simply too costly. A simple, effective solution is to let the water run for about a minute prior to using any water for drinking or cooking. This will remove water that has been in the system for a long enough period to absorb lead. Because hot water is more likely to pick up lead from the solder than is cold water, never use water from the hot water tap for drinking or cooking.

    Another effective method to remove lead from a home's potable water supply system is to provide charcoal filtration filters at the various faucet heads.

    Lead in Dust and Dirt

    Lead can be introduced into any house by means of tracking in lead containing dirt. In order to protect children from lead brought into the property or that might accumulate in dust from other sources, the following guidelines will be helpful for families with children:

    • Ensure that children do not crawl and play in the yard or floor if lead is known to exist in these locations.

    • Ensure that children do not put pacifiers, toys, or their hands in their mouth if they have encountered lead-contaminated dirt or dust.

    • If lead dust is known to exist in the home, mop the floors frequently with a wet mop.

    • If lead dust is known to exist in the home, clean window sills, furniture and other surfaces frequently with a damp cloth.

    • Lead Disclosure and the Residential Real Estate Transaction

      In 1994, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) drafted new federal regulations on the disclosure of lead-based paint hazards in residential properties to comply with the Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992. These new rules were implemented in 1996 in cooperation with the National Association of REALTORS®.

      The 1996 rules provide that sellers or their real estate broker/agent must do all of the following:

      • Provide to buyers and tenants a federally approved lead-based paint hazard information pamphlet entitled "Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home."

      • Disclose the presence of any lead-based paint or related hazard in any house built prior to 1978.

      • Provide buyers and tenants copies of any available reports dealing with the presence of lead-based paint or lead-based hazards.

      • Provide buyers (but not tenants) a 10-day or mutually agreeable period for a lead paint assessment or inspection before a purchaser becomes obligated under the contract to purchase. The buyer may waive this right to test for lead.

      The lead disclosure rules apply to both the purchase of residential property and to the renting of residential property built prior to 1978, with the following exceptions:

      • Property sold at foreclosure.

      • Rental property that is certified "lead-based paint free" by an inspector who is certified under a federal program or federally authorized state certification program.

      • Property leased for 100 days or less with no lease renewal or extension.

      • A renewal of existing leases, if disclosure was made at the time of the initial lease. However, disclosure must be made when renewing leases that were in effect on September 6, 1996.

      • Units with no bedrooms, no separation between sleeping and living areas (e.g., studio apartments, dormitories, or individual rental rooms in a residential dwelling).

      • Housing for the elderly or disabled if children under the age of six are not expected to live there.

      The signed documentation demonstrating that the purchaser or lessee received the required disclosure information must be retained by the seller, the landlord, or agent for a period of three years from the date of sale or lease. The burden of compliance with the lead disclosure law is on the seller and/or lessor. If a licensed real estate agent is involved in the transaction, it is the licensee's responsibility to advise the seller/lessor of the lead disclosure obligation. This responsibility extends to all agents involved in the transaction, except for a buyer's agent who is actually paid by the buyer. Records relating to the lead-based paint disclosure and executed disclosure documents must be kept for a minimum of three years for completed transactions.

      Compliance with the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Law is mandatory and civil penalties can range up to $17,047 for each violation. In addition, those who intentionally either ignore or violate the law can face up to one year imprisonment and up to a $17,047 fine, or both. The injured party (buyer or tenant) is also able to pursue relief under the federal statute for failure to disclose a hazardous condition, which by law is a material fact. The injured party may receive up to three times the damages sustained. The damages may include medical costs related to lead-based paint poisoning and costs associated with correcting the lead-based paint problem in the structure.

      The federal courts are becoming very aggressive in enforcing the provisions of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Law. In July 2001, a Washington D.C. landlord pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and making a false statement to federal officials in order to conceal his failure to notify his tenants of the known presence of lead and the hazards associated with lead-based paint in his rental units. He was sentenced to serve two years in prison. Another federal district court in Connecticut, in the case of Smith v. Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services, Inc., held a listing agent liable for triple damages in a case involving lead-based paint disclosure requirements. Both cases were based on federal law that applies to all 50 states. All sellers and licensees should be aware of the provisions of HUD and EPA regulations as they apply to lead-based paint.

      The licensee's role in the disclosure process is that of explaining the lead-based paint disclosure requirements to the seller and/or lessor. Agents should advocate full disclosure and should remain neutral in their presentation of the disclosure requirements and forms. Agents working with a buyer should explain the purpose of the lead-based paint disclosure laws. Once the buyer receives the disclosure information from the seller, the agent should query the buyer regarding testing for lead, if the buyer is looking for a lead-free house or what lead conditions the buyer would be willing to accept, along with what level of abatement would be acceptable. The agent should not make any recommendations or decisions on behalf of the buyer, rather the issues must be decided by the buyer.

Feb. 13, 2019

Lead Exposure in Homes

graphics7If exposure to lead is suspected, then a blood-screening test can determine the level of lead in the blood. The amount of lead in the blood is expressed as micrograms per deciliter (ug/dl). It is estimated that the general population of the United States had a lead blood level of 26 ug/dl in the 1960s, 12.8 ug/dl in the late 1970s and 2.8ug/dl by the late 1990s. The major reason for the drop in blood lead levels has been due to the elimination of lead from gasoline products. The level of lead measured in a blood-screening test relates to recent lead lead exposure. To determine the level of lead retained in the soft tissue and bone, further testing is required.

If elevated levels of lead in the blood are revealed in a blood-screening test, the source of the lead contamination should immediately be identified and corrected. Except in excessively high readings, the passage of time is all that is required to reduce the lead levels to the acceptable range. In extremely high levels or emergencies cases, the high levels of lead in the blood can be removed through a medical procedure known as chelation. This procedure involves the ingestion of a substance that chemically attaches itself to lead, which in turn is then removed from the body through the urinary system. The procedure can lead to serious medical side effects and therefore is usually not performed unless necessary.

In children, a blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dl) or higher indicates exposure to unhealthy amounts of lead. At this level, the source of the lead exposure should be identified and further contact should be avoided. A blood lead level of 25 ug/dl and above indicates a substantial exposure to lead. At this level, immediate action to identify the source of the lead exposure should occur, and the child should be removed immediately from further exposure to the lead source. A blood lead level of 50 ug/dl and above indicates an exposure to lead beyond which mere identification of the lead source and removal of the child from that source will be adequate. At this level, the child will be considered to suffer from lead poisoning requiring immediate medical treatment. The treatment will most likely involve removal of the lead from the body through chelation.

In adults, a blood lead level above 80 ug/dl usually will call for medical treatment to remove the lead from the body. The treatment, as in children, is usually chelation.

Evaluating the Lead Potential in a House

All houses have the potential for lead contamination because lead is in the air, falls to the ground, accumulates, and can be carried into the house on clothing, tools, shoes, pets, and the like. Many people are exposed to lead in food that comes from lead glazes on ceramics, pottery and china and liquids stored in crystal decanters. However, the greatest danger of exposure to lead in most houses relates to the following:

Lead Paint Problems

graphics4Lead has been used in paint for centuries. It increases durability and has a color depth quality. In the United States it is estimated that:

  • Almost all houses built before 1940 have lead in the paint

  • Seventy percent (70%) of houses built between 1940 and 1959 have lead in the paint

  • Twenty percent (20%) of houses built between 1960 and 1978 have lead in the paint

After 1978 the amount of lead in paint was limited to 600 parts per million and therefore is not deemed significant

The mere presence of lead contaminated paint, regardless of the age of the house, in-and-of-itself does not necessarily present a health hazard. Only when there is the possibility of exposure to the lead in the paint should there be concern. Significant exposure can occur when:

  • paint is peeling, chipping or deteriorating in some fashion

  • a child chews on lead painted surfaces

  • lead painted surfaces are disturbed through remodeling or repairs

  • lead-painted surfaces are exposed to heavy use that will release lead chips or dust into the atmosphere. These potential problem areas are window sashesdoors and door framespainted drawer guidesstairsrailings and banistersporches, and fences, etc.

Lead in Water

Lead is often found in domestic potable water systems. If copper pipes are present, lead solder was probably used to join them at the pipe joints. The risk for lead in the water system is greatest in houses built prior to 1982 or in houses that have as their source of water a domestic well. Some municipal water delivery systems still have water mains that were constructed with lead pipes.

Lead in Dust and Dirt

In older homes, lead can often be found in house dust or in the dirt around the house. In newer houses, it can often be found in dirt if the houses are located near a major road or highway, largely due to a legacy of leaded gasoline.

Testing for Lead

If lead is suspected because of the age and location of the house, testing for lead in paint, domestic water, or in the ground around the house can be done by a house inspector or other qualified professional. Methods used may be any of the following:

Lab Tests

Samples of suspect material should be collected and sent to a lab for chemical analysis. The chemical lab test is called "atomic absorption" or "chip analysis" and usually costs around $30 per sample. The drawback to this method is that samples must be taken, often requiring repair or refinishing of the areas from which samples were taken. In the case of suspected lead in the potable water supply, a water sample should be taken and then sent to a lab for analysis.

Surface Tests

A solution is applied to the suspect surface or material. Usually the solution is delivered through crayon-like sticks containing sodium-rhodisinate. If lead is present, a chemical reaction occurs, which will be indicated by a color change in the end of the stick. Testing is usually done on dozens of surfaces. Although the test is quick and inexpensive, the test will not measure the amount of lead present. This test is also prone to giving many false negative and false positive results.

Home test kits for lead are available. These kits use surface test methods. It is not recommended that these tests be regarded as definitive, since their reliability is somewhat questionable. In addition, the test kits will merely indicate if lead is present in the sample being tested. The test kits will not show exactly how much lead is present in the material.

Portable X-ray Florescence Scanning (XRF)

Use of a portable x-ray florescence-testing machine is the most accurate and non-destructive method of determining lead presence and concentration levels. The machine is placed against a surface containing suspected lead. The machine bombards the underlying material with x-rays that causes the lead particles to become excited and decay. The emitted particles are then measured for concentration levels. On painted surfaces, the machine is capable of detecting lead in paint that has been covered over by numerous layers of paint. The testing is done on site, but can be costly. Prices range from $350 to $500 depending on the size of the house. The XRF test typically takes about two hours for the average house.

The next episode will include how to clean up lead in Bend Oregon Homes.  

Feb. 12, 2019

The Effects of Lead in Bend Homes

graphics3The effects of lead on human health have been known for years. The Greeks even suspected that it was a poison. The scientific community has known for years that high levels of lead ingestion or inhalation may be the basis of many serious health problems. Recent studies have shown that even a small amount of lead may lead to health problems, especially in children.  It is only in older Bend Oregon homes that there is a potential problem with lead.

Lead that is ingested or inhaled enters the bloodstream, where it ordinarily passes through the body in a few days. However, lead can lodge itself in brain tissue, the bones and in other body soft tissues where it can remain permanently, causing health problems. It can be the source of health problems in both adults and children, although the problems in children are especially of concern to health-care professionals.

Health Problems in Adults

A large segment of the population believes that exposure to lead is more a concern for children than for adults. However, an adult exposed to lead over a long period at excessive levels of concentration can suffer from lead related health problems. Some of these are:

  • Fatigue and drowsiness

  • Stomach aches

  • Irritability and restlessness

  • Vomiting

  • Constipation

  • Difficulties during pregnancy which can harm the mother and permanently damage the fetus

  • Anemia

  • Hypertension

  • Tingling sensation in the hands

  • Other reproductive problems (in both women and men)

  • Damage to kidneys

  • Damage to nervous system

  • Memory and concentration problems

  • Muscle and joint pain

  • Gall bladder problems / appendicitis

Health Problems in Children

In children, exposure to even small amounts of lead can create serious health issues. This is especially the case for younger children. Children under the age of six will absorb lead at five times that of adults. Their brains are also at a formative stage of development, which makes them more vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead. A child may have dangerous levels of lead in its body even if he/she appears healthy. Lead in children has been linked to:

  • Learning difficulties

  • Brain damage

  • Motor ability and coordination problems

  • Hearing problems

  • Slowed growth and physical development

  • Behavior problems (such as hyperactivity)

  • Frequent headaches

  • Stomach aches

  • Vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Crankiness and irritability

  • Vision problems

  • Death in extreme exposure cases

Posted in bend, homes, lead, older, oregon
Feb. 11, 2019

Lead in Bend Oregon Homes

For centuries, lead was used in many products. The Greeks and Romans used lead in making pottery. Some historians have attributed the decline of the Roman Empire in part to lead poisoning. Lead was even used in medicines in early Greece and other ancient cultures. More recently, lead was used in old folk remedies such as "greta" and "azarcon," which was used to treat upset stomachs.

Lead use increased dramatically beginning with the industrial revolution. It has been used in the manufacture of common products such as paintgasolinebatteriessolder in electrical conduits and potable water and sewer pipes, glasscrystal glassware and decanters, and painted toys and furniture.

By the late 20th Century, the presence of lead in the environment was so pervasive that humans in most regions of the world were exposed to lead every day. Since humans can take lead into their bodies by both breathing it and by ingesting it, most people are exposed daily to lead through the air we breathe and the food and water we consume. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), about 35% of surveyed homes (37.1 million) have lead-based paint. Of those 37.1 million homes, 93% were built before 1978 (2011 American Healthy Homes Survey). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are over half a million children under the age of 5 who have elevated levels of lead in their bloodstreams.

Lead is found in the dirt around houses, especially property near major roads due to lead particles from auto emissions drifting onto the property. The lead is then tracked into the house. Industrial and manufacturing facilities such as radiator repair shops, brass or bronze foundries, battery manufacturers, steel mills, and bridge construction areas are examples of environments with a high potential for lead exposure.

Because of the serious effects of lead on human health, all states have created tough lead laws based on federal legislation mandated by Congress. Lead in gasoline was banned in 1996 and from paint in 1978. The Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, Title X, which is also known as the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, has as its goal controlling the exposure to lead-based paints. Federal funds are available to assist the states in developing programs for testing and remediation. The Act represents the first time that the federal government has become involved with residential real estate transfers through its mandatory disclosure requirements.

More lead information will be in the next installment of Bend Oregon real estate listings.

Feb. 9, 2019

Hazards of Asbestos in Homes

Many homeowners in Bend do not realize the serious health related risks of asbestos exposure. They will simply reason that a one-time removal of asbestos containing materials from their house cannot pose that great of a risk. Although no governmental agency can prevent a homeowner from doing his/her own asbestos removal work, the homeowner should, at a minimum, follow the following procedures that will minimize their potential exposure to friable asbestos:

  • Seal off the work area with plastic sheeting and duct tape

  • Do not track asbestos dust into areas of the house outside of the sealed off work area

  • Do not dust, sweep, or vacuum particles containing asbestos fibers. The dust should be removed by a wet mop procedure

  • Wet the asbestos containing material with a hand sprayer using a fine mist. The addition of a small amount of low-sudsing dish or laundry soap will assist the water in penetrating the asbestos containing material

  • An approved respirator, protective gloves, hats, and clothing should be worn. The clothing and protective gear should be disposed of after use in the sealed off area

  • The removed asbestos containing material should be placed in plastic trash bags and disposed of in approved landfills following Department of Environmental Quality disposal procedures

  • The sealed off area should be mopped at least two times prior to removal of the plastic sheeting which was used to isolate the area containing the asbestos material. The mops, rags, or sponges used in the cleanup process should be put into plastic trash bags and disposed of in approved landfills.

  • From the buyer's standpoint, the mere presence of asbestos should not be the reason for not proceeding with the house purchase. Only when the total abatement program and the cost to abate is analyzed in terms of the overall transaction, should the decision to purchase or not to purchase be made. The licensee should not recommend to the buyer the actual course of actions that should be followed. However, the licensee may be able to help the buyer evaluate the asbestos issue by keeping in mind the following evaluation points:

    • Asbestos containing materials found on the outside of the house (such as siding and roofing) do not present a real health hazard.

    • Asbestos containing materials found in the inside of the house should be evaluated in terms of location, condition, quantity and friability.

    • If the material containing asbestos is in good condition, there should be little concern.

    • If the material containing asbestos is in a deteriorated state and is obviously friable, then the cost to repair or remove the material should be considered.

    • If there are plans to remodel the house, an evaluation of the potential materials containing asbestos should be conducted along with a consideration of removal or removal alternatives.

    • Asbestos containing materials that become friable should be deemed a serious potential health hazard.

    • The costs of removal or alternative abatement methods should be considered. If the costs are found too high, refusal to purchase may be the only solution for some home buyers. The home buyer might also consider asking the seller to reduce the price of the property to compensate for the costs of asbestos abatement.

    • If removal of asbestos containing materials or disturbing of asbestos containing materials is to occur, the home owner is advised to:

      • Hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor; or

      • Follow all state and federal guidelines for handling asbestos containing materials and the disposal of the materials if an election is made to abate the problem without using licensed professionals. If this election is made, the homeowner should be reminded that any exposure to asbestos is considered a health risk. This risk then must be knowingly assumed.

Feb. 8, 2019

Asbestos in Older Bend Homes

The majority of asbestos fibers enter the body through inhalation. The fibers less frequently enter the body through ingestion. The fibers cannot be absorbed into the body through the skin.  Older Bend homes for sale can contain asbestos.

graphics5If inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause diseases that harm the respiratory system. Some inhaled fibers are trapped by the mucous in the breathing passageways or in nasal hair. The body expels a large percentage of these trapped fibers. However, since many of the asbestos fibers in the air are smaller than 1/1000 the size of a human hair, these extremely small fibers escape the body's initial defense systems and can penetrate deep into the lungs. A human inhaling these small fibers usually will not experience any immediate symptoms, such as sneezing or itching. These fibers, which lodge deep in the lungs, can remain there for years before any symptoms of disease begin to appear. Many of the World War II shipyard workers exposed to asbestos did not manifest any disease symptoms for decades after initial exposure.

The three main diseases associated with exposure to inhaled asbestos fibers are:

  • Lung Cancer: Humans exposed to asbestos are calculated to be at five times greater risk of contracting lung cancer than the general population. If a person smokes, the risk increases by 50 times over that of the general population.

  • Asbestosis: Asbestosis is scarring of the lung tissue that leads to shortness of breath. In some cases, the tissue is so severely scarred that the person cannot get enough oxygen to walk and perform normal daily activities. This condition usually occurs in those who were exposed to prolonged high levels of asbestos.

  • Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the abdominal cavity or chest. Minimal amounts of exposure to asbestos can lead to this condition. Smoking can exacerbate this condition and increases the risk dramatically.

Not all people who are exposed to small amounts of asbestos develop health problems. However, after being exposed to asbestos fibers, the chances of getting some serious respiratory illness is much greater than prior to the exposure.

Although exposure to asbestos fibers through inhalation is deemed the primary method of exposure giving rise to disease, some medical experts also attribute certain forms of stomach, colon, and rectal cancers to the ingestion of asbestos fibers. The scientific evidence seems to indicate that people exposed to asbestos show higher incidents of these diseases than the general public.

Whether the risk of disease is due to inhalation or ingestion, there are no safe levels of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos fibers do not break down in the body. The body has no mechanism to flush them out or remove them and they become trapped. Each exposure accumulates greater amounts of fibers that become permanently lodged which increases the risk of serious disease. Unfortunately, the diseases caused by asbestos exposure are not readily curable.

Identifying Asbestos in Residential Property

Since asbestos fibers are so small, visually identifying them in a product or material is virtually impossible. The best way to determine if asbestos is present is to recognize suspected products and materials and then have them tested for asbestos by a competent lab.

Any products or materials in the following list which are found in a house built prior to 1978 should be viewed as suspect.

  • Appliances (used as insulation blankets in stoves and oven doors and walls and in cover gaskets.)

  • Asbestos containing parts have been found in toasters, popcorn makers, broilers, slow cookers, dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges, ovens, cloths dryers, electric blankets and hair dryers.

  • Ceiling material (textured acoustical "popcorn" ceilings and some ceiling tiles and lay-in panels).

  • Acoustical and decorative plasters

  • Textured paint coatings

  • Wallboard patching, taping, and spackling compounds.

  • Caulking/putties

  • Vinyl floor tiles, vinyl sheet flooring, and under sheeting/tile mastics.

  • Asphalt floor tile

  • Flooring backing

  • Construction mastic (used for carpet and ceiling tile, etc.)

  • Furnace/HVAC systems (used as an insulator and as duct insulation and tape at duct connections.)

  • Ductwork flexible fabric connections

  • Pipes (use insulator blankets or foam wrapping on hot water and steam pipes).

  • Roofing felt

  • Roofing shingles

  • Cement siding

  • Insulation in houses built between 1930 and 1950

  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets

  • Electrical wiring insulation (on very early electrical wires used in knob and tube applications)

  • Cement sheets on walls and floors around wood burning stoves and fireplaces

  • Cement pipe

  • Driveways and sidewalks made from serpentine crushed rock or gravel that is made from serpentine rock. (Serpentine rock is usually glassy in texture and ranges in color from pale green to bluish-black but is most commonly dark or dull green).

graphics6If a material or product has been identified as one that may contain asbestos from the list above, avoid disturbing the material. If possible, try to identify a label, installer or manufacturer. If these cannot be identified, assume that the material or item contains asbestos. The material should then be tested by an expert.

Testing should be done by an expert who, after wetting the surface, removes a sample by either scraping off a small amount of material or by taking a core sample. The test sample is put into a clean container, labeled and sent to a lab for analysis. At the lab, an electron or polarizing light microscope will be used to determine the type and percentage of asbestos present in the sample.

If serpentine rock is suspected as the major material in crushed gravel/rock driveways and sidewalks, a registered geologist should be consulted to identify the rock material. If serpentine rock is identified, it should be tested using Air Resource Board approved testing procedures to determine if asbestos is present.

Although many people associated with construction trades can probably identify products or materials that usually contain asbestos, the only way to positively identify the presence or absence of asbestos is through a lab analysis.

What Can Be Done if Asbestos is Discovered

If asbestos is found to be present in a house after identifying and testing suspect products and/or materials, then the issue of how to deal with the identified asbestos must be addressed.

The best approach is not to disturb the asbestos containing material, unless it is necessary to do so. If the asbestos material is in good shape and is not friable, nothing needs be done. If the homeowner is going to remodel or simply wants the presence of the asbestos material or product minimized, the following methods of abatement should be considered:

Removal

graphics7Removal of the material should be considered as the last alternative.It presents the greatest risk for fiber release and is very expensive. If this option is selected, the United States Department of Environmental Qualityasbestos removal and disposal protocols and procedures should be followed during the abatement process. Trained, insured, and certified asbestos abatement professional contractors should only perform asbestos removal. The removal process will require that the entire work area be contained by a plastic barrier that is put under negative pressure created by a negative air machine. These machines, which also utilize high efficiency particulate air filters to prevent the introduction of fibers into other parts of the structure, are very costly to operate. In order to verify the structure is free from traces of friable asbestos after the abatement work has been completed, it should be tested by an independent professional. This testing procedure can also be very expensive.

Some homeowners, not desiring to absorb the expense of removal by professionals, may foolishly elect to remove the asbestos themselves. If the homeowner elects to do the work, he/she may be exempt from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) rules and regulations with respect to the removal of the asbestos containing material. However, the homeowner must follow the DEQ rules and regulations with respect to the disposal of the asbestos containing material.

Encapsulation

Encapsulation involves covering the asbestos containing material to prevent asbestos fiber release.

EXAMPLE: If a floor cover contains asbestos, sheet over the asbestos tile with new underlayment material, then install the new floor covering, thereby permanently sealing the asbestos under the underlayment material. This is a simple and cost effective method to prevent release of asbestos fibers.

Enclosure

Enclosure means placing an airtight barrier around the asbestos containing material.

EXAMPLE: If an appliance appears to be releasing fibers into the atmosphere, insert the appliance inside a heavy plastic bag and seal the bag shut. This isolates the item in an airtight barrier thereby preventing the release of fibers into the atmosphere.

Encasement

Encasement involves covering the asbestos containing material with hard-setting sealing material that either binds the asbestos fibers together or coats the material so fibers are not released.

EXAMPLE: The asbestos wrapping material that covers radiator heating system pipes are coated with a hard-setting sealing material that completely contains the old asbestos containing material. The new material is hard and prevents release of asbestos fibers into the air.

Repair

Repair involves patching, recovering or similar methods to specific damaged areas of asbestos containing material. However, during the repair process the surrounding asbestos containing material should not be disturbed.