All Posts Tagged: asbestos abatement

Dangers of Homeowners Removing Asbestos

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.

Should You DIY When 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.

Why It Pays to Hire a Professional

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.

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Consequences of Violating Clean Air Act

Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Violating Clean Air Act

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.

Why It Doesn’t Pay to Be Caught up in an Asbestos Scheme

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.

Health Risks of Asbestos Exposure

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.

EPA Regulations for Asbestos Removal

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.

How to Know If You’re Hiring a Legal Asbestos Testing Company

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.

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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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Asbestos Testing Prior to Commercial Demolition

Asbestos Testing Prior to Commercial DemolitionWhether you are a commercial building owner or a contractor who will be demolishing a building or performing an internal demo, you’ll need to first safely remove any asbestos containing materials (ACMs) prior to beginning the project.

This can be a frustrating process, however, as there are a number of state and federal regulations that need to be adhered to when removing ACMs and testing for clean air to ensure the safety of you and your workers before any demolition can start. Here are some of the considerations to keep in mind before taking on a demolition project, as well as some tips for working with an asbestos testing lab.

EPA Regulations

Under the Clean Air Act, all commercial demolition and renovation projects need to follow a specific set of asbestos safety guidelines. First, the owner of the building will need to notify their state agency prior to starting any demolition or renovation so that a thorough third-party inspection can take place. The inspector will then check for any asbestos containing materials that may be present in the building, which will require professional asbestos removal before the demo project can move forward.

It’s important to note that there are also a set of regulations for removing ACMs from a commercial building, so building owners will need to bring in an asbestos removal company in order to comply with these regulations. Additionally, because asbestos particles are too small to be seen with the naked eye, working with a professional asbestos testing company is the only way to know for sure if all ACMs have been properly removed.

Keeping Your Workers Safe

All asbestos removal contractors and their employees demoing or renovating schools or public and commercial buildings need to be accredited and trained in proper asbestos handling and removal under programs that follow the standards set by the EPA’s Model Accreditation Plan (MAP). On top of this requirement, there may be additional state or local regulations that you’ll need to make sure you meet before, during and after asbestos abatement.

In addition to following local, state and federal asbestos removal regulations, there are steps you can take to make sure your workers are safe while handing ACMs. One of the most important aspects of asbestos abatement worker safety is to provide the right protective clothing and equipment and ensure that all workers know and understand how to properly utilize them. These items may include:

  • Approved safety gear, such as coveralls, gloves, masks and respirators
  • HEPA certified vacuums and other asbestos removal equipment
  • Posters or signs notifying workers of asbestos containing materials
  • Proper OSHA training

Working with an Asbestos Testing Lab

Once asbestos removal companies have taken the necessary precautions and properly removed all known ACMs from the site, the next step is to work with an asbestos testing lab to perform post-remediation testing. This final test will determine whether or not all traces of asbestos fibers have been removed so that demolition or renovations can safely begin. In the event that asbestos is still detected in the air based on the lab sample results, your asbestos testing company can work with you until lab samples show that all asbestos fibers are gone.

What Else Do You Need To Know About Asbestos Testing?

If you still have questions about how asbestos testing works and what the process entails, 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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