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All posts by Cat Guimaraes

Hoboken Takes On New Ordinance Regulating Mold!

Hoboken is the FIRST in New Jersey

Being the first municipality in the state to ‘regulate’ mold, Mayor Bhalla and his administration have taken many complaints from their City’s tenants very seriously. In an effort to protect Hoboken residents from this major public health concern, Mayor Bhalla asked the City’s Department of Health and Human Services to create such legislation. The City Council passed this ordinance unanimously. This provides its residents with a pathway to have their concerns address.

“We want to make sure every resident is safe in their own home, especially children, and the new regulation will give the City the ability to regulate the unhealthy growth of mold,” said Mayor Bhalla. “This will allow any concerned resident to contact our Health Office, which can now help ensure tenants have mold-free living conditions.”

Mold is HARMFUL

Although some people may view mold as a harmless concern, this environmental hazard should never be ignored. Mold strives in damp, humid, and warm places, primarily in places like bathrooms, basements, and especially attics with poor ventilation. Fungi (mold) can be caused by many things, some more common examples are from plumbing leaks, foundation cracks, water pooling near the foundation, and roof leaks. Mold can grow ANYWHERE and is able to affect ANYONE!

Take Action!

Taking precautionary measures prior to renting or buying a home is always a smart approach. It’s difficult for any tenant/homeowner to know if mold is present unless you can physically see it, or smell it, which is why opting for a Mold Inspection is another optimal choice. Hiring professionals who have the proper tools and equipment to find hidden mold could save you from living in an unsafe home.

Hoboken residents who need to report a substantial mold issue that is not remediated by a landlord or property owner can request an inspection by calling 1800-908-6679. For more information about our business please visit us at www.irislaboratories.com and for Franchise Opportunities CLICK HERE!

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IRIS Environmental Laboratories Earns 2018 Angie’s List Super Service Award

The award reflects the company’s consistently high level of customer service

IRIS Environmental Laboratories is proud to announce that it has earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award (SSA). This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List in 2018.

“Service pros that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award represent the best in our network, who are consistently making great customer service their mission,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “These pros have provided exceptional service to our members and absolutely deserve recognition for the exemplary customer service they exhibited in the past year.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2018 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include maintaining an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade. The SSA winners must be in good standing with Angie’s List and undergo additional screening.

IRIS Environmental Laboratories has been listed on Angie’s List since 2018. This is the first year IRIS Environmental Laboratories has received this honor.

Service company ratings are updated continually on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in multiple fields ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

For over two decades Angie’s List has been a trusted name for connecting consumers to top-rated service professionals. Angie’s List provides unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

If you are interested in Asbestos or Mold testing and Inspection, make no mistake, choose the experts. Choose IRIS Environmental Laboratories. 

Download the Award Certificate.

SSA18-A.-Press-Release-1.pdf (66 downloads) 2018_SSA_Official-Certificate.pdf (82 downloads)

 

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THE STORY OF THE IRIS OWNERS – The struggles and the climb to success

To understand Iris Environmental is to understand the history of the Eustaquio family. Rod, the tenacious elder brother by a decade and Rick, the outspoken younger brother grew up in Minas Gerais, a state in southeastern Brazil….. the beautiful environment betrayed a hard childhood…

 

 

Success is a rough road, you will feel pain, you will want to give up prematurely, you will doubt yourself and people will discourage you. This is the story of two brothers who came from another country with a dream for a better life and ended up in the asbestos and mold business as a franchise company.

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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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Asbestos Floor Tiles-Tips for Installation Companies

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.

The Importance of Asbestos Testing before Flooring Removal

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.

Sealing Asbestos Floor Tiles vs. Removal

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.

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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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Chrysotile Asbestos Threatens Schools, and Businesses

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.

What Is Chrysotile?

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.

How to Tell If There Is Asbestos In Your Home, School, or Business

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.

About IRIS Environmental Laboratories

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.

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Harmful Textured Ceiling Tiles and Drywall

Covering Your Textured Ceiling Tiles with Drywall is Not Safe

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.

What Makes Textured Ceiling Tiles Harmful?

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.

Why Covering with Drywall Isn’t a Safe Solution

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.

How to Have Your Home Tested for Asbestos

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.

How Do I Get Started with Asbestos Inspection?

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.

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7 Hidden Asbestos (ACMs) in Old Homes

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.

1. Insulation (ACMs)

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.

2. Textured Ceiling Tiles (ACMs)

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.

3. Vinyl Floors (ACMs)

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.

4. Hot Water and Steam Pipes (ACMs)

Since asbestos was so widely used as an insulator, some older hot water, and steam pipes could also contain traces of this dangerous material.

5. Oil and Coal Furnaces (ACMs)

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.

6. Roofing and Shingles (ACMs)

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.

7. Walls and Floors around Wood Burners (ACMs)

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.

How Do I Find an Asbestos Testing Laboratory Near Me?

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.

Feel free to give IRIS Environmental Laboratories a call today at 1(800) 908-6679, or contact us online for more information on how to get started with your asbestos inspection.

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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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