Asbestos is a mineral fiber which is commonly used as a construction material given its heat insulation and fire-resistant characteristics. Before the 1980s, almost every public and commercial establishments in the United States have asbestos in them, notably in concrete, vinyl materials in roof shingles, pipes, asphalt, floor tiles, siding, and wall board among others. Indeed, asbestos was hailed back then as a vital material in the construction industry.
While asbestos possesses characteristics, which render it as an important building material, it is largely a health hazard when disturbed, damaged, or crumbled. When the asbestos is mishandled, its fibers become airborne which can then be exhaled by the building occupants and may prevent them from breathing properly. Inhaling the asbestos fibers and/or prolonged exposure to it may result to serious health conditions. Breathing high levels of asbestos is linked to increased risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma. Thus, given this concerning health problems associated with asbestos exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released regulatory standards which highlight the strict compliance for asbestos in buildings to be handled safely and appropriately, and that workers use necessary protective equipment and specially trained to handle asbestos.
For property owners applying for a building construction, renovation, demolition, or repair permit, most states require for asbestos inspection or survey to be conducted first in order to determine the presence or asbestos in the building. Asbestos may be found in the roofing and siding shingles, textured paint used in wall and ceiling joints, vinyl floor tiles, and steam pipes among others. As long as the asbestos material is in good condition and left undisturbed, there is nothing to worry about. But again, as mentioned, if you plan to do some renovation or demolition works on your home or building, getting a professional asbestos inspector, testing, and removal expert is required. You may contact your local or state agencies for a list of their accredited asbestos contractor within your area.
Asbestos testing and removal typically start of through an all-inclusive site survey to accurately determine materials in your building where asbestos is potentially present. The materials which are suspected to have asbestos will be sampled and analyzed in the laboratory. Once confirmed, a risk assessment and removal plan will be developed and eventually implemented. The removal process entails cordoning-off the work area/s with asbestos materials and assigning a containment area as well. The workers or experts involved in the whole process of asbestos removal should be sufficiently protected all throughout. The asbestos materials that were removed should also be safely placed in a sealed disposal waste and transported to a secure landfill. After the removal, the areas or surfaces should be well-disinfected and vacuumed using a specialized vacuuming equipment. Finally, another round of testing will be conducted to verify if the successful removal of the asbestos. Once verified, a clearance will be furnished to concerned parties after.
Getting your property inspected for asbestos may seem to be quite overwhelming. But if you are with a qualified and well-experienced asbestos testing and removal experts, there is nothing to worry about.