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All Posts Tagged: IRIS Environmental Laboratories

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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Understanding the Health Effects of Lead Paint

Lead is a naturally-occurring heavy metal that can be found in soil, water, and even air. However, the most common cause of lead poisoning is still exposure to lead-based paints and other building materials that pre-date regulations that disallow lead to be used in these types of products. Unfortunately, lead poisoning is still a very real health threat, especially to young children.

Take a look at some of the health effects of lead paint and what you can do to make sure you and your family are not unknowingly exposed to this harmful substance when buying or selling a home.

Dangers in Lead-Based Paint

Prior to 1978, lead paint was frequently used in homes, schools, furniture, and even children’s toys. Even though there is now a ban in place that prohibits the use of lead-based paint for these purposes, if you are buying or selling an older home, lead paint exposure could be a serious problem that you’ll have to deal with before you can move forward with the buying or selling process.

Exposure to lead paint has been shown to cause the following symptoms and even death if not caught and treated early enough:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Stomach pain, cramping, and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Miscarriage or premature birth

The biggest risks for lead exposure are during demolition and remodeling projects, as any lead dust or particles that are released into the air can be dangerous to your health. For this reason, home inspectors will look for signs of lead-based paint and other materials within a home before a sale can go through. If he or she suspects that lead may be present, the homeowner may need to have the space tested for lead by a third-party.

Your  Lead Testing Questions Answered

If your home needs to be inspected for lead before selling or buying, don’t get discouraged. Although this can temporarily pause the process, professional lead testing doesn’t have to be a hassle. First, make sure you’re working with an accredited environmental Inspector that will send certified experts to evaluate the space and collect samples. Next, those samples will be sent off to the lab for lead testing. An air quality test can also be performed to determine if any lead particles are already present in the air in the home.

If lead is detected, homeowners can choose to hire a team of professionals to remove lead-based paint from the walls. Otherwise, they will need to take special precautions if electing to do the work themselves in order to minimize the risk of lead exposure and the health effects that can come along with it. Keep in mind that children and pregnant women should never be involved in lead removal. If you do have kids, the safest choice may be to have a professional come in and remove the paint for you.

If you still have questions about how to get your home tested for lead or how the process works, please contact us online or give us a call at (908) 206-0073. We would be happy to help!

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