All Posts Tagged: Asbestos Exposure Symptoms

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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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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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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