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All Posts in Category: Lifestyle

7 Hidden Asbestos (ACMs) in Old Homes

Whether you’re looking to buy or renovate an older home, you could be up against a few hidden asbestos problems that aren’t usually a concern in newer homes. That’s because asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were popularly used in homes built before 1980. Although asbestos is an effective and flame-resistant insulator, it is, unfortunately, a serious health hazard.

Before you commit to buying that charming older home you love or beginning a reno project, you’ll want to have your home tested for asbestos in materials like these.

1. Insulation (ACMs)

Before we knew just how hazardous asbestos exposure could be, this material was the primary type of insulation used in homes, schools, and other buildings built before 1980. As long as they are left undisturbed, though, existing ACMs are not believed to pose a health risk. However, if you plan to renovate an older home, you’ll want to hire professional asbestos testing and asbestos abatement companies to detect and remove the problem first.

2. Textured Ceiling Tiles (ACMs)

Also called “popcorn” or “cottage cheese” ceilings, textured ceilings often contain asbestos. This unique look used to be in style, but because many homeowners now want an updated look, ACMs lurking in textured ceiling tiles could pose a health risk if not tested and properly remediated first.

3. Vinyl Floors (ACMs)

Some vinyl flooring backing and adhesives might also contain asbestos. Before redoing the floors in an older home, it’s a good idea to have a certified asbestos inspector come in and make sure it’s safe to tear up the old floors and give them a fresh new look.

4. Hot Water and Steam Pipes (ACMs)

Since asbestos was so widely used as an insulator, some older hot water, and steam pipes could also contain traces of this dangerous material.

5. Oil and Coal Furnaces (ACMs)

Similarly, oil and coal furnaces could still have their original asbestos insulation. If you plan on ripping yours out and replacing it with a newer furnace, call in an asbestos inspector first.

6. Roofing and Shingles (ACMs)

Some roofing and siding shingles used to be made with what’s called asbestos cement, which is essentially a mixture of asbestos and regular cement. You might also find this material in corrugated roofing and drain pipes.

Some types of asbestos, particularly white asbestos or chrysotile, were banned much later than other types, so buildings as new as 1999 could contain asbestos cement.

7. Walls and Floors around Wood Burners (ACMs)

Wood burners can be an efficient way to heat your home in the winter, especially if natural gas isn’t available where you live. But if there are older cement sheets or millboard surrounding your wood burner, you could have a hidden asbestos problem on your hands.

How Do I Find an Asbestos Testing Laboratory Near Me?

If you think your older home might contain asbestos and you’re planning to renovate, it’s important that you find a reputable asbestos testing laboratory in your area to ensure your family’s safety. Look for a full-accredited environmental laboratory that has experienced professionals who know, understand, and follow the highest safety standards when testing for asbestos.

Feel free to give IRIS Environmental Laboratories a call today at 1(800) 908-6679, or contact us online for more information on how to get started with your asbestos inspection.

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5 Celebrities Who Have Been Affected by Mold

While some might associate mold with subpar living conditions, the truth is that mold can affect just about anyone at any time. In fact, many high-profile celebrities have notoriously been affected by mold, a testament to the fact that it’s a good idea for everyone to be aware of the dangers of toxic mold exposure and to have their homes tested for this dangerous substance.
Take a look at the stories behind some of the most interesting celebrity cases of toxic mold, and what to do if you want to have your home tested.

1. Dr. Oz
Known for providing health tips and advice on his popular TV show appropriately titled The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz himself discovered that he had been living with toxic mold behind his living room walls. On his show, Dr. Oz emphasized the importance of getting your home tested for mold, as oftentimes, you can’t see, smell, or otherwise detect it yourself.

2. Bianca Jagger
Bianca Jagger, former wife of Mick Jagger, reportedly began feeling sick while residing in a New York City apartment that cost a cool $4,600 per month in rent. After three different environmental tests for asbestos came back positive, Bianca quit paying rent and sued the owner of the building for millions, on the basis that she had been living in that asbestos-infested building for the past 23 years and was now experiencing health problems as a result.

3. Brittany Murphy
Although her sudden death back in 2009 remains a Hollywood mystery, there is speculation that late-actress Brittany Murphy died from complications due to toxic mold exposure. Interestingly enough, her husband also passed away from similar flu-like symptoms just five months later.
While it’s impossible to ever say for sure, the back-to- back deaths of Brittany Murphy and her husband may make a case for mold poisoning.

4. Michael Jordan
After paying to have synthetic stucco applied to the outside of his Chicago mansion, NBA superstar Michael Jordan began having problems with mold. According to reports, the synthetic stucco ended up retaining water rather than deflecting it, causing mold growth all over his home. It would seem that MJ had no choice but to file a $2.5 million lawsuit against the company who installed it.

5. Muhammad Ali
As it turns out, even larger-than- life celebrities can get duped during the home-buying process if they’re not careful. Back in 2011, boxing champion Muhammad Ali purchased a home in Louisiana for over a million dollars, only to later find out that it was covered in water damage and mold. Both Ali and his wife struggled with respiratory issues associated with the mold exposure.

Should You Have Your Home Tested for Mold?
In a word, yes. As you can see, even celebrity mansions and pricey New York City flats aren’t immune to toxic mold growth. Rather than risk the health of you and your family, have a professional mold inspector test your home.

For more information about professional mold testing, contact us at (908) 206-0073 or by using our online contact form.

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Talc Contains Asbestos – Be Cautious When Buying These Products

Talc is a very soft, naturally-occurring clay mineral that is used to make talcum powder, an ingredient in many different cosmetic, personal care, and household products. However, some talcum powder has been shown to contain a specific type of asbestos called tremolite, which is a toxic substance linked with lung cancer.
Since so many everyday household products contain talc and talcum powder, it’s crucial that you use caution when buying these products to ensure the safety of you and your family. These five common products are known to contain talc, so you may have to do a little digging to determine the source of the talc used in that particular product and whether it has ever been tested for asbestos.

1. Baby Powder
Talcum powder is very good at absorbing moisture, which is why it is the primary ingredient in most baby powders and many feminine hygiene products. While cosmetic-grade talc should not contain asbestos in theory, some samples of baby powder, makeup, and other cosmetic products have tested positive for asbestos.

2. Paint and Coatings
Talc is also widely used in paint, coatings, and sealants either as a filler or to improve functional properties such as weathering protection, scrub resistance, and physical appearance. You can find an extensive list of paint products that contain talc on the FDA’s website. While this isn’t to say that every one of these products necessarily contains asbestos, it is a good idea to do a little research on the talc supplier for that product, or even to have it tested for asbestos prior to use in your home.

3. Pesticides
Some garden pesticides contain talcum powder to repel certain insects that could harm crops and flowers. Unfortunately, pesticides that contain talc with asbestos could also be harmful to you, your family, and your pets.

4. Rubber
Talc is also often used to manufacture many different rubber products, including rubber-backed carpeting. If you are starting a renovation project and will be ripping up old carpet, insulation, and other materials that could contain asbestos, it’s recommended you bring in an asbestos testing company first so that you don’t end up stirring up dangerous asbestos fibers and releasing them into your home.

5. Paper and Plastics
Many papers and plastics contain talc as a filler, a brightening agent, and to improve the opacity of the finished product. Talc can also be used in the paper recycling process, so it’s possible for recycled paper products and plastics to potentially also contain asbestos.

Asbestos Testing
While it can be difficult to avoid using products that contain talc or talcum powder altogether,  you can have these products tested for asbestos by a certified environmental lab so you can have the peace of mind that you and your family are safe from asbestos exposure.

For more information on how to have your home or products tested for asbestos, contact IRIS Environmental Laboratories at (908)206-0073 or using our online contact form.

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Protecting You and Your Loved Ones From Radon Gas

When you buy or sell a home these days, you will more than likely run into questions regarding
radon gas and radon testing. That’s because it is now becoming more widely known and
understood that when high levels of this gas are present in your home, you and your family
could be at risk for developing serious health risks, including lung cancer. Here is everything you
need to know about the dangers of radon and how to make sure your home is safe.

The Dangers of Radon Gas
Since you can’t see, smell, or taste radon, it is impossible to detect without special testing. For
this reason, homes are now being tested for radon gas during the buying and selling process.
Even if you’re not buying or selling your home, however, you may still want to have the indoor
air tested for radon.

When too much radon is able to seep through cracks in the foundation or walls of your home, it
can become trapped inside and could increase your risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, radon
exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, second only to
cigarette smoke.

How Do I Know If There Is Radon in My Home?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, counties in many regions in the United
States are likely to have radon levels above the safe limit of 4 pCi/L. Some of the most at-risk
areas include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Ohio, Illinois, and many parts of the
mid-west and northwest.

However, the only way to know for sure whether or not the radon levels in your home are safe
for you and your family is to have the air tested for radon. If your radon test comes back with readings of 4 or greater, it is highly recommended that you have a radon remediation system
installed to pull radon from beneath your home and vent it outside where it can then disperse.

Professional Radon Testing vs. DIY Test Kits
At this point, you might be asking, “How do I get my home tested for radon?” You have two
options. The first is to get a DIY radon testing kit from your local hardware store and follow the
instructions to set up the test yourself. You’ll then need to send it off to an environmental
testing lab to get the results.

Your second option is to have a professional radon remediation company to come in and
perform the test for you. The advantage to this option is that if your test does come back with
unsafe levels, the company can then begin the process of installing your radon remediation
system as soon as possible. The costs of your testing might also be lower when performed by
the same company that installs your system if needed.

Still Have Questions?
If you still have questions about what radon is or how to get your home tested for radon, feel
free to contact IRIS Environmental Laboratories at (908)206-0073 or using our online form. We
would be happy to answer your questions or recommend a professional radon testing and
remediation company in your area.

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Asbestos Found in Children’s Makeup

According to a recent report published just a few days ago by CNN, asbestos was found in several eye shadow and other makeup products marketed towards children from international beauty giant Claire’s. Since the revelation, the company has pulled nine products off its shelves while awaiting third-party asbestos testing results.

So what is asbestos, why is it so dangerous, and what can you do to make sure your family’s makeup and personal care products are safe? Here are some of your most frequently asked questions answered.

What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally-occurring minerals that were once widely used in building materials and other products due to their incredible insulating and heat- and flame-resistant qualities. However, it has been found that exposure to asbestos particles poses a serious risk of developing mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer, as well as other health risks.

Although many products are no longer manufactured using asbestos, the effects of asbestos inhalation can take years or even decades to present themselves. Moreover, children and adults alike are still being exposed to this dangerous substance, even in unlikely places like makeup, paints, toys, and other products. The fact of the matter is that people are still dying from asbestos exposure.

How Does Asbestos Wind up in Makeup?
The asbestos that was reportedly found in some Claire’s eye shadow products is most likely linked with contaminated talcum powder, although the company claims that the talcum powder that it uses in its makeup products is safely sourced from Europe.

Nonetheless, talcum powder can be contaminated with a type of asbestos known as tremolite, which is exactly what preliminary tests found in some Claire’s eye shadows. Once these tests are completed, Claire’s has stated that it will then “take the necessary action.”

Asbestos-contaminated talcum powder has also fairly recently been found in some children’s art
supplies and toys, making this a growing problem, despite the fact that we are now well-aware of the risks of asbestos exposure, especially to children.

Can You Have Your Makeup Products Tested for Asbestos?
Yes! Although Claire’s has since pulled the items in question off its shelves until the results of additional asbestos testing come back, you can take an active role in protecting yourself and your family from unknowingly being exposed to asbestos. Environmental testing labs like IRIS Environmental Laboratories can test makeup products for asbestos particles, so one option would be to send a sample of the makeup you’d like to have tested to our lab so that you can know for sure whether or not your children could be in danger of asbestos exposure.

How Can I Get More Information?
If you still have questions about what asbestos is or how you can have your makeup products tested for asbestos, please feel free to contact us online or by phone at (908) 206-0073.
Asbestos inhalation can lead to serious health problems, so catching and stopping exposure as early as possible is the key to reducing these risks and keeping your family safe.

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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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