It seems that we hear a lot about environmental concerns these days. Much of it is simply the result of a greater awareness than in the past. And even though there isn't anything to be concerned with in most homes, there are still a number of potential home environmental issues that buyers should be aware of.
Water quality is a common concern. Typically, a basic water quality test will check pH, water hardness, the presence of fluoride, sodium, iron and manganese, plus bacteria such as E-coli. Additionally, water may be tested for the presence of lead or arsenic.
In homes built before 1978, lead based paint may be present. Generally, if the lead based paint is in good condition, not cracking or peeling, it is not a hazard. If the condition is hazardous, the paint will either need to be removed or sealed in such a manner as to eliminate the hazard.
Another common environmental concern with the home is radon. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium in the soil/bedrock. Pretty much all homes have some radon present. Tests can determine if the level present is higher than what is considered safe. If the level is too high, a radon reduction system will need to be installed. We have been testing for radon gas since 1995. We have performed thousands of tests in and around the Salt Lake Valley. Radon can be present in any home. Radon gas was detected in my own home. I have had a sub-slab system installed which lowered my levels to an acceptable and safe level.
In older homes, asbestos was used in many types of insulation, sheetrock joint compound, ducting tape, floor tiles, ceilings tiles, siding tiles, roof tiles and other building materials. If the asbestos is releasing fibers into the air, it needs to be removed or repaired by a professional contractor specializing in asbestos removal/cleanup. But, if the asbestos material is in good condition, and not releasing fibers, it poses no hazard and can be left alone.
Methamphetamine or "Meth" is also a potential environmental issue in any home. In the event that methamphetamine was produced or smoked in the home, residue is likely to have contaminated other areas of the home. Preliminary "owner tests" can rule in or rule out the presence of meth. These tests can be purchased at local laboratories. In the event that positive results are achieved, a professional/specialists should be consulted to repair, remove or replace the affected materials. This can include the removal of flooring, walls, ceilings, ducting systems and other building materials that may have been affected.