Lighthouse Remodel a Reminder of Asbestos Risk

For people who crave the scenic beauty of living by the sea in a home that has stood the test of time, the chance to buy an old lighthouse may seem like a dream come true.

But when it comes to remodeling one, the dream may become a nightmare. Lighthouses, like many older structures, need substantial renovations to make them habitable. And unfortunately, some may harbor an unpleasant surprise for would-be remodelers: asbestos.

The Wall Street Journal

(subscription required) reports that a number of U.S. lighthouses have come up for sale since the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act was passed in 2000. The act allows the federal government to sell the landmark beacons if it is determined they are no longer needed.

The Journal detailed the challenges with one lighthouse purchased this summer for $340,000 in Old Saybrook, Conn. One issue: the stone breakwater leading to the 500-square-foot structure belongs to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — so it will be off limits to the new owner. But the 1886 lighthouse also contains asbestos that will need to be properly removed before any remodeling can begin.

Once considered an indispensible material for insulation and fireproofing, asbestos was used in many structures dating from the 19th century. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that its use was limited by the federal government due to serious health concerns about asbestos exposure.

As with any remodeling project, knowing if asbestos lurks in your home is crucial. Asbestos exposure is linked to mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer found in the lining of the lung, chest, abdomen, and heart. According to the National Cancer Institute, there is no known safe level of asbestos exposure, and even small exposures could potentially cause major health problems.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Call Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation regarding an asbestos lawsuit.