The Chicago area has some incredible historic buildings. From structures erected as single-family homes to early skyscrapers, there are many impressive historical buildings in the local landscape. While these older buildings may contribute to the charm of the Chicagoland area, they also create specific risks for those who encounter them.
Those who live in, work in or work on older buildings are at risk of injury and illness related to the conditions of aging property. There are numerous hazards often hiding behind charming vintage details in older buildings. What are some of the most common safety risks found in antique edifices in broader Chicago?
Some buildings may have lead pipes, while others may have lead paint. In both cases, the exposure to lead that residents or tenants may have over time could lead to concerning symptoms. Especially for young people, lead exposure has a strong correlation with decreased academic performance and increased future criminality.
Numerous building materials, from rolled fire-resistant flooring to popcorn ceilings, contained asbestos before the risks were well known. Some construction companies continued using materials that include asbestos for projects even long after they should have stopped.
More importantly, property owners did not immediately go out and remediate every property that had asbestos on the premises. Covering up the asbestos is a common approach. Renovations can often stir up asbestos, endangering anyone nearby to this airborne carcinogen.
3. Dangerous chemicals
Especially in industrial buildings and multi-unit apartments, there could be cleaning agents or other chemical compounds that could pose a risk to human health. There could also be underground storage tanks that contain dangerous chemicals or bio-hazardous materials.
The older a building is, the more opportunities harsh winter weather or incessant spring rain might have had to penetrate the walls, windows or roof. Mold growing inside an older building can make those who enter very ill. Certain kinds of mold will require professional remediation, which could cost thousands of dollars depending on the scope of the mold issue.
Radon is a common health concern in Illinois homes, and state research has shown concerning levels of this known human carcinogen at many residential properties.
Anyone who has been injured by serious safety hazards that are conditions of property may be in a position to pursue a personal injury claim. Discussing the dangerous conditions of a property with a lawyer can help people evaluate whether or not they may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.