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All Posts Tagged: asbestos testing

Real Estate Agents – Are You Prepared?!

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.

Why Asbestos, Mold, and Lead Can Be Major Setbacks

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.

How to Give Your Clients Peace of Mind

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.

What to Do When Tight Deadlines Matter

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.

Get in Touch with IRIS Environmental Laboratories

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 support@irislaboratories.com to get the environmental hazard testing process started so you can have happy (and healthy!) sellers and buyers.

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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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When Should I Test The Air Quality of My Home?

There are a number of different substances that may be present in your home that could
contribute to poor indoor air quality, including asbestos, lead, radon gas and mold. What’s more
is that not only can these substances lower the quality of the air that you’re breathing each and
every day, but they can also lead to serious health problems.
While this is by no means an extensive list, these five factors are good indicators that it might be
time to get the indoor air quality of your home tested.

1. You’re Experiencing Adverse Health Effects
If you or a family member begins to develop health issues seemingly out of nowhere, asbestos,
lead, radon or mold that’s lurking in your home might be to blame. Some of the most notable
symptoms that are often associated with these dangerous substances include:

  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Sinus congestion
  • Eye or skin irritation
  • Asthma and other respiratory problems
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

2. Your Allergies Are Flaring Up
People who struggle with allergies may notice that their symptoms begin to flare up when they
are exposed to hazardous materials like asbestos fibers and mold. While there are other
unrelated causes of indoor allergies, such as pet dander and dust mites, unexplained flare-ups
could indicate poor air quality.
Once you have your air tested by a certified professional, you’ll then be armed with the
knowledge you need to remove any potentially dangerous materials or substances from your
home.

3. You’re Planning to Renovate Your Home
Even if you’ve lived in your home for decades and never seemed to have a problem with
asbestos or other harmful materials, as soon as you begin a renovation project, you could stir up
dangerous particles and release them into the air. In fact, asbestos is most dangerous when you
breathe its microscopic particles into your lungs.
Thus, before you start any demolition or renovation project in your home, call in a professional
asbestos testing lab to make sure you’re not going to stir up any of these dangerous particles
during your project. If asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are detected, you’ll want to hire a
professional to remove them before continuing to ensure the safety of you and your family.

4. You’re Buying a New Home
You may elect to have the indoor air quality tested during a home inspection before purchasing
a new home to make sure you’re not going to be strapped with the cost of installing a radon
remediation system, for example, or dealing with other hazardous issues before you even move
in.

5. You Have Kids
Because their lungs are still developing and they breathe in more air in each breath than adults
do, children are even more susceptible to health complications due to asbestos, lead, mold and
radon exposure. If you have, getting an air quality test could give you the peace of mind you’re
looking for.

How to Test the Air Quality in Your Home
If you’re concerned about poor indoor air quality, the first step is to contact a certified
environmental laboratory to have your air tested. If hazardous substances such as asbestos,
lead, radon gas or mold are discovered through testing, the next step is to hire an experienced,
trained professional to remediate the situation so that you and your family can safely breathe
clean air.
For more information on asbestos, mold or air quality testing, 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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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 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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