“When we look at this asbestos, what do we see?
A layer of dust.
It’s there,” said Lisa Dornan, the director of the New York State Office of Emergency Services, who has worked on asbestos testing in New York City.
“We see asbestos on the wall.
We see asbestos in the floor.
We don’t see a problem.
So, you’re really looking at a layer of asbestos.”
The state has spent about $7 million to test thousands of homes in New Jersey, New York, and New York’s suburbs since the 1990s.
Since 2003, the state has tested homes at least 11,000 times.
In some cases, there have been more than a dozen homes tested in one year, according to a study from the University of North Carolina’s Norman Ornstein Center for Health Policy and Management.
And the results are mixed.
There have been no confirmed deaths, and in some cases the deaths have been attributed to conditions outside of the home, including asthma, respiratory infections, and anemia, Ornstein said.
In a recent report from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the agency’s director, Julie A. Zoromski, said there is “strong evidence that asbestos exposure may cause the development of chronic lung disease, exacerbating existing lung diseases, or exacerbating preexisting conditions, such as asthma.”
But other research has not found a link between exposure to asbestos and lung cancer, or a link with other chronic diseases.
Dornans findings about the risk of asbestos exposure are a sign of the dangers that can be found in the home that can make it difficult to make informed decisions about home inspections, she said.
“The real problem is that you don’t know,” Dorna said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.