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topic 54378

Old silverplating shop for sale as residence -- any dangers I should know about?

February 16, 2010

Hi all,

I'm a resident of Philadelphia. My husband and I (with our baby daughter) are planning a move and are looking at real estate. There's a house/shop here in the city that was built in the 1800s and has been used as a silver-plating business for decades. I'm going for an initial walk-through on Friday and was wondering if there are any specific concerns I should keep in mind. I know nothing about the processes of plating but want to be as aware as possible if there's any potential residual health impacts from the air, pipes, soil, dust, etc.

Any suggestions your community can make will be gratefully received,

Jen Gagne
Potential buyer of a former silver-plating shop - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

February 16, 2010

Hi, Jen. I'm pretty confident that such businesses must have environmental assessments conducted before closure or sale of the property, so you might ask to see a copy. Silver electroplating uses cyanide-based processes, so, depending on how long the shop has been closed, there could be some small chance of cyanide powders still around I suppose. But I would not expect an individual home buyer to have sufficient technical knowledge to investigate the possible dangers; if an environmental site assessment has not been conducted, I would not buy the property without a competent environmental inspection.


Ted Mooney,
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Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
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