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All Posts in Category: Asbestos

Asbestos – High Risk Occupations

Asbestos, which is a naturally-occurring substance known for its ability to resist heat and corrosion, is no longer used in most modern building materials because of its serious health risks. However, many workers can still be exposed to this harmful substance on a regular basis, so it’s crucial that employers in these fields take extra precautions to keep their employees safe. Outlined below are just some of the most high-risk occupations for exposure to asbestos.

Construction Workers

One of the most at-risk jobs for asbestos exposure is construction, especially for workers who are involved in demolition of any kind. That’s because asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are most harmful when they are disturbed and their fibers are released into the air.

Since asbestos was very commonly used in building materials such as insulation, dry wall and shingles up until the 1980s, any structures built within this time period should be treated as though they do contain asbestos. This should involve professional asbestos testing and abatement to ensure worker safety.

Electricians

Asbestos was also commonly used to insulate electrical wires due to its flame-resistant quality. Because of this, electricians who work in old construction could be at a high risk for asbestos exposure, and special care should be taken when removing old insulation and wiring from homes and other structures.

Plumbers

Pipe insulation is another building material that frequently contains asbestos, especially in older buildings, which can put plumbers at risk for coming into contact with ACMs while they work.

Auto Mechanics

Many people don’t realize that asbestos can also be found in some brake pads, linings and various gaskets. Thus, when working with these materials, auto mechanics could be exposed to asbestos in the workplace.

Firefighters

Because firefighters enter buildings that may be burning or are otherwise damaged, they can be at a very high risk for asbestos exposure. However, proper equipment can help to protect firefighters from breathing in asbestos fibers, smoke and other dangerous substances.

Teachers

Older school buildings contain ACMs, so teachers can run the risk of being exposed to asbestos fibers in the classroom if these materials are disturbed.

Additionally, some art supplies have been found to contain asbestos, including powder paints or glaze, clay and wheat paste. Art teachers should take special care when choosing supplies for their classes and when working with any existing supplies that could contain asbestos.

Asbestos Exposure Symptoms

If you work in an environment where your risk of asbestos exposure is high, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of asbestos exposure. Some of the most notable signs include:

  • A persistent cough
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • “Clubbing” fingers or toes

How IRIS Environmental Laboratories Can Help

If you or your workers could be exposed to ACMs on a regular basis, a crucial step in ensuring employee safety is to have the space or materials checked for asbestos. When you work with IRIS Environmental Laboratories, a certified and trained professional will be sent to find asbestos containing materials.

To learn more about how to get started with this process, feel free to contact us online or give us a call at (908) 206-0073.

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Are People Still Dying from Asbestos?

Despite the fact that regulations have been in place since 1971 regarding how much asbestos workers can be exposed to and what types of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) can still be manufactured, up to 15,000 Americans are still dying from asbestos exposure each year. Not only are many workers still at risk, but many families could also still be exposed to ACMs that are within the four walls, flooring and ceiling tiles of their homes.

For this reason, familiarizing yourself with the potential risks of asbestos exposure as well as the proper way to test for and get rid of ACMs in your home, business or other structure are crucial steps in minimizing your and your family’s risk of asbestos exposure and associated health complications. Read this article for more information.

How Can I Be Exposed to Asbestos?

Asbestos becomes the most dangerous and biggest health threat when its tiny particles are dispersed into the air. Thus, any time you disturb asbestos-containing materials that might already be in your home during a renovation, for example, you and your family could be at risk for inhaling the harmful particles. This is why calling in professional asbestos testing and asbestos abatement teams are an important first step before starting any major demolition or renovation project yourself.

Additionally, many workers are still being exposed to asbestos on a regular basis, especially those who work with older structures and building materials. Some of the highest-risk occupations for health problems associated with asbestos include:

  • Construction workers
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Mechanics
  • Teachers

What Are the Health Effects of Asbestos?

A specific type of lung cancer called mesothelioma remains the leading cause of asbestos-related deaths, and has accounted for more than 45,000 deaths in the United States between 1999 and 2015.  The first signs of mesothelioma can take years or even decades to develop, which is why this disease is more commonly seen among people over 85.

However, there continue to be cases of people as young as 35 who are beginning to show signs of the negative effects of asbestos, which means that people today are still being exposed to this dangerous substance. In fact, children are at the greatest risk for developing asbestos-related health issues later in life, as their lungs and respiratory systems are still developing.

In addition to mesothelioma and other types of lung cancers, asbestos can negatively affect your health in many ways, including:

  • The formation of plaques in the lining of the lungs
  • A condition known as “folded lung”
  • Increased risk of developing laryngitis
  • Reduced immune system function

IRIS Environmental Laboratories

The bottom line is that many people don’t realize that asbestos is not a thing of the past—it remains a very real public health threat today. If special care is not taken when working with or around ACMs, you could risk developing related health complications down the road.

If you’re about to start a home renovation project or are concerned about ACMs in the workplace and the safety of your employees, start by having the space tested for asbestos by a certified environmental testing laboratory. Then, if asbestos is found, hire a team of asbestos abatement professionals to properly handle and remove it from your home or other building.

Still have questions about the effects of asbestos or how to initiate the asbestos testing process? Please feel free to send us a message, or give us a call at (908) 206-0073.

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How Can Asbestos Affect Your Child’s Future?

When most people think of asbestos exposure, an image of an older person who may have been exposed to asbestos containing materials (ACMs) decades ago is typically what first comes to mind. But the reality is that any home or other structure that was built prior to 1980 could still contain asbestos, meaning that you and your family could still be at risk for asbestos exposure.

What’s even more concerning is that asbestos exposure at a young age can pose serious health risks as your child develops, although the first recognizable signs might not show up until 20 years later. Fortunately, as a parent, there are some steps you can take to help minimize this risk and keep your family safe.

Recognizing the Risks of Asbestos Exposure in Children

The main health risk that asbestos poses for both adults and children is the potential to develop mesothelioma—a specific form of lung cancer—and other types of cancers later in life. With children, however, this risk is even greater, as their lungs and respiratory system are still in the developing stages.

In addition, according to the Children’s Environmental Health Project, children are at a greater risk for breathing in harmful particles, including asbestos fibers, because their smaller lungs have a higher surface area to volume ratio than do adults. Children also have a faster breathing rate than adults, which means that they can breathe in even more potentially dangerous particles with each breath.

Finally, children also tend to put their fingers in their mouths without thinking about what might be on them, so it is possible that they could accidentally ingest asbestos fibers if they’ve touched or played with materials that contain asbestos particles.

Preventing Asbestos Exposure in the Home

To minimize the risk that you or your family members could be exposed to asbestos fibers, you should first determine if your house contains any of these building materials that commonly contain asbestos:

  • Laminate floor tiles
  • Stucco
  • Cement sheet
  • Boiler, furnace, or pipe insulation
  • Original roof shingles, ceiling tiles, or siding

If your home was built before 1980 and contains these materials, there is a good chance that there may be asbestos in your home. Before you panic, though, know that the real danger of ACMs is when these materials are disturbed and therefore can release the dangerous asbestos fibers into the air. Because of this, the best way to handle ACMs in your home is to avoid touching or removing these materials and call in a professional asbestos testing laboratory.

Your home can be tested for asbestos in three simple steps. First, a trained and certified professional will conduct a thorough inspection of your home, as well as perform an air quality test if needed. Next, samples will be taken and sent to the asbestos testing lab, which will then provide you with an easy-to-understand report.

If the results of your testing find that there are asbestos containing materials in your home, you are encouraged to hire a professional asbestos remediation company to safely remove the dangerous materials. Once all remediation is complete, your asbestos testing company will perform a Clearance Air test to make sure that all traces of asbestos particles have been removed from your home.

Not only is this a much safer way of dealing with asbestos in your home than trying to tackle the problem yourself, but working with a professional asbestos testing lab will also give you the peace of mind that you and your children are safe in your own home. Contact our Lab to receive more information or to answer any questions you may have. Our Certified Field Inspectors are ready to tackle any job you may have. There’s no need for you to do this alone.

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Makeup Products Test Positive for Asbestos

It’s a hard pill to swallow when you hear that everyday make up is currently testing positive for asbestos. You might think to yourself, “How is that even possible?” or “Who would purposely place asbestos into cosmetics?!”  As if that’s not scary enough, tween cosmetics are also turning up positive for Tremolite asbestos fibers! This means when you purchase a makeup kit for your daughter, niece, granddaughter, or little cousin for their birthday’s or Christmas, there’s a chance they are applying asbestos directly onto their faces. Keep reading to get more details on what to look out for and how asbestos is making its way into our cosmetics.

 

So, How Does Asbestos Even Get Into Makeup?

Talc is a mineral that is mined around the U.S. and was often found to have the presence of tremolite asbestos within it. While many domestic manufacturers have taken safety measures to prevent levels of tremolite in their mined talc to later be used for cosmetic products, foreign manufacturers tend to have less environmental regulations on asbestos use and allow contaminated products to enter the country. Talc, a common ingredient in cosmetics, is a naturally occurring mineral often mined near asbestos deposits on the earth’s surface. Sometimes, the two substances mix.

 

Who is Producing These Cosmetics?

Justice, a national retail chain marketed to young girls, has stopped selling a cosmetics product after discovering it contained talc contaminated with asbestos fibers. The tainted product was Just Shine Shimmer Powder, which the company stopped selling at stores and removed from its website, according to a Tuesday post on its Facebook page.

 

Recent lab tests show that kids’ face paint and makeup still contain frightening ingredients like arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and lead. The Campaign also found other creepy chemicals, such as toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, lurking both on and off the label of kids’ Halloween and play makeup.

 

HEALTH CONCERNS: Cancer, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, bioaccumulation, eco-toxicity.

How Can You Avoid Carcinogens in Cosmetics?

Read labels and avoid cosmetics and personal care products containing formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol), phenacetin, coal tar, benzene, untreated or mildly treated mineral oils, ethylene oxide, chromium, cadmium and its compounds, arsenic and crystalline silica (or quartz).

 

With Holidays Approaching Fast…

Help us pass along this information to your friends and family so they can also be aware of the dangers lurking in talc containing products! Don’t let the people you care about be the next victim.

For more information on asbestos containing makeup, and ways you can have your loved one’s products tested, please contact our support team or give us a call at (908) 206-0073 today!

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Asbestos & Real Estate

asbestos-and-real-estateAs a realtor your job is very important and the kind of relationship you form with your clients will really play a part in the sales that you make. Asbestos and real estate can sometimes go hand in hand. It’s important for your clients to feel comfortable and safe with you when they are going through the process of buying a home. As a realtor, it’s a good idea to have a network of trustworthy companies you can refer out to when needed. For instance what would happen to your potential sale, your buyers and your sellers, if a house you’re trying to sell has asbestos? Check out the rest of this article to learn why it’s important for you to be knowledgeable about asbestos and real estate and how we can help!

How Home Inspections Effect A Realtor

As the realtor you play a very significant role in the home buying process. Most people whether they are the buyer or the seller will look to their real estate agent for advice. You are the person who will help them make important decisions and guide them through a process they probably aren’t familiar with. When buying and selling a home, having knowledge in many areas throughout the process can only help your reputation as a realtor. It’s important that you can refer your clients to other professionals that may be involved in the process.

A home inspection is a crucial part of buying a home. It’s when the true condition of the home is documented for the buyer and seller to review. There’s always going to be something the inspector finds, but sometimes it’s not always something little or fixable. Finding asbestos in a home can cause concern for everyone involved.

Having a good, reliable, certified home inspector in your network of professionals is very important. When a home inspection is conducted you want to make sure that a credible person is there doing the work. Especially if your reputation depends on it. A good home inspector that you can trust might take time to find, but it’s important for you and your clients that someone who can efficiently conduct an inspection is there and doesn’t overlook anything as important as asbestos. From there the process would begin to get more detailed and a specific asbestos sampling would need to be done.

What If Asbestos Is Found In A Home Inspection

asbestos and real estateIt could be extremely frustrating for everyone involved when you’re close to making a sale on a home and the home inspector finds something like asbestos. When found during a pre-sale home inspection, it holds back the entire pre-selling or even selling process. Often, deals are put down or aside resulting frustration for everyone.

However with the proper procedures taken and asbestos laboratory testing, it could be possible that sales could be finalized and everyone wins. In order to make sure the home does in fact have asbestos an asbestos inspector would have to come to the home and take samples of all of the areas thought to be hazardous.

During this process, the potential buyers and the seller’s of the home might be under a lot of stress. Although the realtor would miss out on the sale of the home, the buyer and seller will be looking to their realtors for advice and guidance. At this time it would be beneficial to everyone for the realtor to point their clients in the direction of the asbestos testing company as well as the laboratory doing the testing. Since the realtor doesn’t have the expertise these companies would have, it’s important for them to get the information they need to make decisions going forwards.

For a realtor, it’s a good idea to have a good relationship with these third party companies. Someone you know is certified to inspect the area and know that they will take proper precautions when examining the home, as well as inform the buyer and seller of the situation.

A good professional relationship with the lab will pay off for the realtor. You want to be able to trust the lab and understand the process that they go through. Having confidence in your team of professionals will allow you and your clients feel confident during this stressful time.

How We Handle Asbestos In The Home

Our professional conducts an inspection of the property.

The inspections will be conducted by a certified trained professional to find Asbestos Containing Material (ACM). The certified technician may also perform an Air Quality Test if necessary.

All samples will be analyzed at our Certified Laboratory facility under the Environmental Standard criteria. After the testing we will provide the results in an easy-to-read report.

The results will accurately point out the Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM). With all the results in hand and if ACM is then we can refer you to a remediation company if requested. After remediation the problem, the removal company will provide you with a final air clearance report to show that there are no asbestos fibers in the air. You may also choose to have us return to provide the final air clearance to avoid a conflict of interest. to ensure there is no asbestos fibers present in the air.

We understand how important the buying and selling process is, and we want to ensure an educational and stress free process during the time of inspection. We value what we do and hope it helps our clients feel comfortable and confident while using our services.

Want To Learn More?

If you still have questions about  asbestos and real estate, take a look at our FAQ page for more information. If you still can’t find the answers you’re looking for, feel free to contact us online or give us a call at (908) 206-0073 and one of our friendly team members would be happy to help you.

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asbestos-home-renovations-what-you-need-to-know

Asbestos & Home Renovations: What You Need to Know

asbestos-home-renovations-what-you-need-to-knowStarting any renovation project on your home can be an exciting adventure. However, it could also pose a serious threat to your health if you’re unsure of whether or not there may be asbestos in your home.

Because the primary health risks occur when tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air, a DIY home renovation project can quickly turn into a dangerous situation if you’re not careful. Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle this problem on your own. Here is some important information about asbestos and home renovations and what you can do if you need help detecting and testing for asbestos materials.

Understanding the Risk of Asbestos in the Home

As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and that is certainly true when dealing with materials that could potentially contain asbestos, which can be very hazardous to your health. So before you dig into a home renovation project, you’ll want to assess the likelihood that your house contains asbestos materials so that you can take the necessary precautions.

Some telltale signs that may indicate the presence of asbestos in your home include:

  • The structure was built before 1980
  • Your home contains old floor tiles, laminate, cement sheet, pipe cement or original roof shingles
  • Your older home has never been professionally renovated before

While looking for these signs and types of materials is a good place to start, the only way to know for sure if your home contains asbestos is to have a professional perform an asbestos test on any suspected areas of your home. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that you can do on your own, because asbestos is impossible to detect with the naked eye and you could create a larger risk while searching for asbestos-containing materials than just leaving them alone and calling in a professional.

Treat All Materials Like They Contain Asbestos

If you’ve already started your renovation project and have come across materials that you think could contain asbestos, the best approach is to treat all suspected materials as though they have already tested positive for asbestos. This means that you should discontinue all demolition efforts and leave those materials as undisturbed as possible. This will help to reduce the risk that harmful asbestos particles could be released into the air.

Find an Asbestos Testing Lab

The next step is to find an asbestos testing lab so that you can know for sure if you need to hire a team of professionals to remove it before safely continuing with your renovation project.

In order to test for asbestos, a certified and trained professional will inspect your home for asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), as well as perform an air quality test. Then, the samples that were collected from your home will be sent off to a laboratory for testing. You will then be notified of the results of these tests.

How to Get Rid of Asbestos

At this point, many homeowners often wonder if taking on asbestos removal themselves is an option. Since breathing in the asbestos particles that will be released during the removal process is what makes this substance so dangerous, you should always rely on a reputable asbestos remediation company to do this for you.

Once the ACMs have been removed from your house, an asbestos testing company will need to return to perform what’s called a clearance air test to make sure that there are no longer asbestos particles inside your home. After this final test comes back showing no signs of asbestos, you’ll have the green light to move full speed ahead on your renovations!

Want to learn more about how Iris Labs can help you with your construction or renovation project? CONTACT US TODAY 

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5 Asbestos Facts You Didn’t Know

5 Asbestos Facts You Didn’t KnowBecause of its fire- and water-resistant properties, asbestos has long been used as a versatile building material. It was commonly used in homes, schools, and other structures until fairly recently when its serious health hazards came to light. Now, home inspectors check for asbestos before a sale is able to go through.

If you’re concerned that your home might contain this material, which could be putting you and your family at risk, here is some information  that could help.

1. Asbestos Was a Popular Building Material Until the 1980s

The dangers include an increased risk for lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses such as asbestosis, were largely unknown to the public until the 1980s. As a result, homes built before this period have a higher likelihood of contamination.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to have your home inspected, especially if you’re planning on remodeling any part of your home, which could release dangerous asbestos fibers into the air.

2. Not All Asbestos-Containing Products Are Banned in the U.S.

Despite the fact that the health hazards of asbestos are now widely recognized, not all materials that contain it have been banned in the United States. This means that even new construction could potentially contain asbestos.

According to the EPA, just some of the asbestos-containing materials that are currently not banned in the U.S. include:

  • Cement sheet
  • Roofing felt and roof coatings
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Cement shingle and pipe
  • Millboard

3. Asbestos Poses a Health Risk When Inhaled or Ingested

Asbestos becomes dangerous when its dust particles are released into the air, where they can be easily inhaled or ingested. Because of this, many people are unaware that they have been exposed to it at all.

Before you begin a home renovation or DIY remodeling project, get your home assessed  to make sure you’re not unknowing putting yourself and your family at risk.

Keep in mind, too, that even drilling, sanding, or pressure-washing materials that contain asbestos could potentially release the harmful fibers into the air, so it’s important to know for sure whether or not your home contains this material before moving forward with a project.

4. Asbestos Can Be Difficult to Detect

Another reason it can be such a challenging problem for homeowners is that it is often difficult or even impossible to detect by simply visually inspecting your home. This is because the fibers that cause these health risks are generally too small to see with the naked eye.

Additionally, because so many different building materials could possibly contain asbestos, there’s no surefire way to tell whether or not you might be at risk by simply performing a self-evaluation of the building. If you’re unsure about the presence of asbestos in any part of your home, it’s better to play it safe and have samples professionally tested.

5. Only a Licensed Professional Should Assess and Remove Asbestos

If lab tests come back showing that your home does contain asbestos, the next step is to take steps to safely remediate it. Attempting to remove asbestos from your home yourself, however, can be much more dangerous than just leaving it alone. If you have an asbestos problem, the best way to get rid of it is to rely on trained and certified professionals who can safely and effectively remove it.

Then, once you’ve called in the professionals, it’s a good idea to have the air quality of your home retested to make sure that all traces of asbestos are gone to give you the peace of mind that you and your family are safe.

Want To Know More Facts?

If you still have questions about asbestos take a look at our FAQ page for more information. If you still can’t find the answers you’re looking for, feel free to contact us online or give us a call at (908) 206-0073 and one of our friendly team members would be happy to help you.

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Asbestos Assessment

What is an asbestos assessment?

An asbestos assessment is when a certified individual inspects a building for the presence, location and quantification of asbestos-containing material (ACM) or suspected ACM. ACM is defined as material that contains greater than 1% asbestos. An asbestos inspection also includes re-examining of building or facility to identify the presence or location of additional or existing ACM or suspected.

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Why should I worry about Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral with useful properties. Asbestos possess thermal stability, strength, and good insulating abilities. Asbestos cannot be seen with the naked eye. The bad news is asbestos may cause diseases if it is not handled properly. Asbestos may be anywhere in your home.  Following are places where asbestos can be found in your home:

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