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Some of the most common issues we see when testing for asbestos happen during the home-buying and selling process. If you’re gearing up to put your house on the market, or if you’re looking to purchase a new home, here’s what you absolutely need to know about asbestos dangers, testing, and removing asbestos.
No! After the asbestos testing homeowners may need remediation, but all too often, instead of hiring a professional asbestos abatement company, many sellers try removing asbestos themselves. This creates problems when the buyer then asks for a certificate of removal from an abatement company, and the seller doesn’t have any proof to provide.
Not only is this a major headache for both parties, but it is also very dangerous for everyone involved, as well as the general public. Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) need to be disposed of in an asbestos landfill. Otherwise, the public could be exposed to these harmful particles, not to mention you, your family, and the next family who lives in this home.
Moreover, if you try to DIY when removing asbestos, it is very likely that asbestos could still be present in your home, despite your best efforts. If a second air quality test still indicates asbestos, you’ll need to start all over again with the removal process.
The upfront costs of selling a home can be a bit daunting, especially when you’re hit with a positive asbestos testing and are now faced with the process of removing asbestos. However, hiring a professional asbestos testing inspectors and abatement companies now will end up saving you time and money in the long run.
As in the example explained above, the cost of professional asbestos removal now will be offset by the money you’ll save later when you go to sell your home and don’t have to scramble to get a certification of removal, which would require you to go through the entire process all over again, as well as delay the sale of your home.
What to Look for in Asbestos Testing and Abatement Companies
Another thing to watch out for when dealing with asbestos inspection and removal is fraudulent or unqualified individuals trying to pass their services off as “professional.” Don’t be fooled by too-good-to-be-true pricing, or “under the table” work. The only way to get accurate, certifiable asbestos testing results is to work with a certified asbestos testing company.
Similarly, don’t hire just anyone to remove asbestos-containing materials if your testing comes back positive. Unless you use a professional asbestos removal company, you won’t be able to provide future buyers proof that these materials were effectively and safely removed from the home.
If you still have questions about asbestos testing or removal, feel free to contact IRIS online or give us a call at 1-800-908-6679. You can also read through our FAQ page to learn a little more about the asbestos inspection process and how results are reported.
For any company, employee and client safety are of the utmost importance, and most reputable flooring, construction, and demolition companies do take necessary steps to ensure the safety of everyone involved. However, in some cases, there could be health hazards lurking at the job site that workers may be unaware of, which could put them and the homeowners at risk. Anytime a flooring company is asked to remove old flooring, asbestos floor tiles are one of their biggest hazards.
IRIS Environmental Laboratories has encountered quite a few homeowners who wanted to have their floor tiles inspected for asbestos. One, in particular, had previously hired a general contractor to have his floor tiles encapsulated with another layer of floor tile, simply because he’d always suspected that the floor tiles were actually asbestos floor tiles. However, when the workers arrived, they mistakenly began removing the floor tiles instead of sealing it, which resulted in the dust – and potentially asbestos – particles throughout his home.
Sure enough, the flooring tested positive for asbestos. Unfortunately, the entire time the workers were removing the flooring, they were unknowingly exposed to deadly asbestos particles. Had it not been for the homeowner asking them to stop for asbestos testing, they would have continued their work and risked further asbestos exposure.
Even if a job requires sealing asbestos floor tile rather than removing it, all workers should be made aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure and what to do if they find themselves in a potentially hazardous situation. In the story described above, had even one of the employees realized that asbestos testing should be done prior to flooring removal, the entire incident would have been avoided altogether.
If, on the other hand, the job requires workers to completely remove flooring tiles, it’s best to play it safe and test for asbestos before starting anything. A good rule of thumb to follow is to arrange for asbestos testing prior to any demolition or flooring renovation project that could disperse asbestos particles into the air.
Taking the Next Step: How to Arrange for Asbestos Testing
So, how do you go about testing for asbestos and safely removing asbestos, if necessary, before beginning a demo project? You can either work with a company like IRIS Environmental Laboratories to ensure all necessary testing is complete prior to beginning a job, therefore you know your workers are safe, or you can ask the homeowner to have the material tested prior to your arrival.
It’s important to note that you need to make sure you’re working with a certified asbestos testing company, as there have been many incidences of fraud in the past. When it comes to keeping your workers and clients safe and healthy, it really doesn’t pay to skip this step or hire an unauthorized asbestos inspector.
For more information about how to arrange for asbestos testing prior to a flooring removal job, contact IRIS online or give us a call at 1-800-908-6679.
When it comes to keeping people safe from environmental hazards as outlined in the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency does not take policy violations lightly. Recently, a man was charged with three counts of violating the Clean Air Act for his unlawful involvement in an asbestos inspection and removal scheme within the Pillsbury Mills plant in Springfield, Illinois.
Joseph J. Chernis IV was ordered to spend a total of 37 months in federal prison because he knowingly hired an untrained person to illegally inspect and remove asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) from the Pillsbury Mills factory. As a direct result of his actions, asbestos-containing dry insulation was improperly and unsafely removed from four buildings within the Springfield facility, putting countless people at risk of asbestos exposure. Clean-up efforts that are estimated to cost the U.S. EPA millions of dollars will now need to be carried out to ensure the safety of factory workers.
What is particularly troubling about Mr. Chernis’ actions is the fact that they did not just put him at risk. Asbestos removal workers, factory workers, and anyone else in the vicinity could have been exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers, which can cause a deadly form of lung cancer called mesothelioma. For this reason, asbestos testing and removal need to be performed by a trained and certified professional who will abide by all EPA standards and policies to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Asbestos is included as a type of hazardous pollutant outlined in the Clean Air Act. As such, business owners, contractors, or anyone else overseeing a demolition or renovation project needs to be aware of the EPA’s rules and regulations for identifying and properly removing and disposing of asbestos-containing materials.
In the long run, it simply doesn’t pay to try to save a few bucks by illegally hiring an unqualified individual to remove ACMs. Before beginning a demo or renovation project, make sure you’re compliant with EPA regulations.
The first step in getting rid of ACMs safely is to call in a professional to inspect the property for asbestos and have samples tested. To make sure you’re working with a reputable company, don’t be shy about asking for things like certifications, accreditations, and whether or not they are compliant with all federal rules and regulations regarding the removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials.
At IRIS Environmental Laboratories, a trained professional will always conduct a thorough asbestos inspection and have any possible ACMs tested for the presence of potentially deadly asbestos fibers. Once any detected asbestos is properly removed by a professional asbestos remediation company, IRIS Environmental Laboratories will then conduct an air quality test to ensure that there are no longer dangerous asbestos particles in the air.
If you still have questions about how to properly test for and remove asbestos before starting a demolition or renovation project, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-908-6679 or contact us online.
Contrary to popular belief, Chrysotile asbestos is far from being a thing of the past. Although regulations are now in place that prohibits the use of some asbestos-containing materials (although not all) in new construction, any home, school, business, or other structure that was built before 1980 is likely to still contain ACM’s.
If disturbed, ACM’s can release microscopic particles into the air, leading to serious health concerns. Chrysotile and other types of asbestos have been linked to a form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma, as well as a serious non-cancerous lung disease called asbestosis.
Chrysotile also called “white asbestos” or “serpentine asbestos” is the most common type of asbestos that is still found in homes, schools, businesses, and even ships. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an estimated 95% of all asbestos found today is chrysotile. Like other types of asbestos, which include actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and tremolite, chrysotile poses a serious health risk if its tiny fibers are released into the air and inhaled through your lungs.
Thus, asbestos-containing materials on their own are not necessarily a hazard to your health, but if you are planning a demolition or renovation project that could disturb these ACM’s, you’ll need to have the area inspected and tested for asbestos first. If found, a professional asbestos remediation company should come in and safely remove the materials before your project moves forward.
One of the most common questions people ask about asbestos detection is, “Can’t I just look around for asbestos in my home or business?” Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just look for asbestos, because it is impossible to tell with the naked eye whether or not a material contains asbestos fibers.
Asbestos is considered to be a hazardous material, so any school, business owner (among other occupations that may expose you to asbestos) or overseer of a demolition or renovation project needs to have the space-tested by a trained professional and properly remediated if asbestos is found. Once ACM’s are professionally removed, an environmental laboratory can provide a final air quality test to ensure that all traces of asbestos particles are, indeed, removed from the space.
IRIS Environmental Laboratories is a fully accredited lab with certified experts in the field of asbestos testing, mold testing, air quality testing, and other environmental testing services. We are committed to providing each and every client with the highest-quality environmental testing available and at an affordable price. IRIS Environmental Laboratories understands that the health and safety of you and your family mean everything to you, so we go out of our way to ensure the best possible testing and consulting services to keep your family safe.
If you’d like more information about IRIS Environmental Laboratories or how to take the first step to have your home, school, or business tested for asbestos, please feel free to contact us online or give us a call at 1-800-908-6679.
If your home features those so-called “cottage cheese” or “popcorn” ceiling tiles that were popular in homes built in the 50s up until the 80s, you might be looking for easy solutions to update the space. If you’re selling your home, you may be asked to have your textured ceiling tiles tested for asbestos prior to closing.
Although covering up these unsightly ceiling tiles with drywall might sound like the easiest and most convenient solution, unfortunately, this is not safe. Here’s what you need to know about the potential health risks of textured ceilings and how to safely get rid of them.
As with many other types of building materials that were commonly used in homes and other structures built prior to 1980, textured ceiling tiles are known to contain asbestos. The good news is that if left undisturbed, this asbestos is not considered a health risk. However, as soon as you go to remove these ceiling tiles, the tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air and can be a very serious threat to your health when breathed into your lungs.
The most serious health effect of asbestos exposure is the development of a type of lung cancer called mesothelioma.
Whether you’re trying to sell your home or are simply looking to do a little updating, covering popcorn ceiling tiles with drywall is not a safe option. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the process of putting up drywall requires surface abrasion and nailing, which can disturb the underlying textured ceiling tiles and release dangerous asbestos particles into the air.
The second reason why this is not a good solution is that new homeowners who don’t realize that there may be asbestos-containing materials under the drywall ceiling could be at risk for asbestos exposure should they go to remodel the home.
So what should you do if you have “cottage cheese” ceiling tiles that you want or need to get rid of? The first and most important step is to have the materials tested for asbestos. Although there are DIY asbestos testing kits out there, the most accurate and effective way to have your home tested is to contact a professional asbestos testing company.
A certified, trained professional will first inspect your home for possible asbestos-containing materials. Then samples of the materials, including textured ceiling tile, will be sent to the environmental laboratory to be tested for asbestos. If the results show that the tiles do contain asbestos, the next step is to have them removed by a trained professional to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including the new homeowners if you are selling.
When hiring an asbestos inspector, it is important that you choose a qualified professional to avoid inspector fraud and get the most accurate results. If you still have questions about how to begin to the asbestos inspection process, contact IRIS Environmental Laboratories online, or give us a call at 1800-908-6679.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since asbestos was so widely used as an insulator, some older hot water, and steam pipes could also contain traces of this dangerous material.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Real estate agents know better than anyone that if a bump along the way can happen, it probably will. However, there are some things real estate agents can do to better prepare themselves and their clients for curveballs like asbestos, mold, and lead, which could turn into expensive and time-consuming headaches if you’re not careful.
If you’re looking for ways to make your real estate transactions smooth and seamless, one of the best places to start is knowing how to handle issues with environmental hazards as quickly and effectively as possible.
Today, evaluating a home for environmental hazards like asbestos, mold, and lead is often a standard practice before a sale or purchase can go through. Sellers will need to disclose this information to all potential buyers in their seller disclosure statement. However, if asbestos, mold, or lead is found in the home, it may be necessary to remediate the situation prior to closing.
If you’ve ever run into this situation as a real estate agent, you know how time-consuming this process can be if left until the last minute. Not only can these environmental health hazards scare off potential buyers, but it could also cause a sale to fall through if they’re not taken care of properly and in a timely fashion.
While there’s no way to completely predict or prevent problems with asbestos, mold, and lead, you can help to give your clients peace of mind by being well-educated about what these substances are, where they’re most commonly found, and how to have a home inspected, tested, and remediated if need be. The more information about asbestos and mold testing that you can provide your sellers upfront, the less of a hassle you both will have to deal with if these problems are left to surface right before closing.
At IRIS Environmental Laboratories, we provide presentations at your real estate office at no cost to help inform realtors of the possible headaches and setbacks that can crop up during a sale when asbestos, mold, and lead show up.
Obviously, the ideal situation is to not have to deal with environmental hazards at all. But the fact of the matter is that many homes, especially those built before 1980, still contain materials like asbestos and lead, and mold could be lurking behind walls, under flooring, or within ceiling tiles.
Whether you’re planning ahead of time or are zeroing in on your closing date, arranging for professional asbestos or mold testing as quickly as possible is crucial for a smooth, seamless real estate transaction. Even if you’re getting down to the wire on your closing date, IRIS Environmental Laboratories can help. With one of the quickest turnaround times for test samples available, IRIS can get you your final report in lightening speed.
Don’t let asbestos, mold, or lead get in the way of your real estate transaction. Give IRIS Environmental Laboratories a call today at 1(800) 908-6679 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the environmental hazard testing process started so you can have happy (and healthy!) sellers and buyers.
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.
Asbestos testing is now routine before beginning a renovation project or even before having extensive plumbing or electrical work done on your own. When it comes to testing your home for asbestos, you have two main options. One is to get a home testing kit and the other is to hire an asbestos professional.
While it might seem like performing the test yourself could be the way to go, there are actually a number of reasons why bringing in a professional could pay off in the long run.
1. Save Time and Money
Even though the cost of the at-home asbestos test itself might initially be cheaper, you could end up saving both time and money when you rely on a professional instead. Not only is DIY testing not as accurate as professional asbestos testing, but it could also potentially expose you to harmful asbestos particles and therefore put you and your family at risk for asbestos-related health hazards.
2. Professional Asbestos Testing May Be Required in Your Location
Another important factor to consider is that many cities and townships require that homes be tested for asbestos by a licensed environmental laboratory, rather than the homeowner. This is because companies who install flooring, plumbers, electricians, and other workers who have to handle pipes and other materials that are wrapped with insulation want to ensure that they are not putting their employees at risk for asbestos exposure.
Thus, they often require professional testing before proceeding with their work and they will not accept anything less than having a team of professionals testing the materials. If you need to have work done on your home and only have a DIY asbestos test, the project could be delayed until you bring in a professional.
3. The Asbestos Laboratory Is Responsible for Reporting Accurate Results
So why is it so important to many state and local authorities that you use a professional? It’s because they can then hold the licensed environmental laboratory responsible for the accuracy of the test results.
For example, when IRIS Environmental Laboratories provides a final report with our findings, we are placing our licenses on the line by definitively stating, “Yes, there is asbestos,” or “No, there is not.” If anything goes wrong, it falls back on the professionals that performed the inspection, not the homeowner.
Have More Questions about Asbestos Testing?
When it comes to keeping yourself and your family safe from the dangers of asbestos exposure, it’s best to rely on the skill, expertise, and accreditation of a professional instead of trying to perform the test on your own. In the long run, you’ll most likely end up saving time, money, and headaches down the road.
If you still have questions about hiring a professional asbestos inspector, please feel free to contact us at (908)206-0073 or by using our online contact form. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have and help you better understand the asbestos testing process.