Asbestos is a very dangerous carcinogen that is the leading cause of mesothelioma which is a type of lung cancer. Asbestos was used in a lot of homes and building 40 years or older, however, it can be found in some materials from the 1990s and 2000's. Asbestos was used because it is very heat and fire-resistant, it is a great insulator and has soundproof capabilities. However, the health risks far outweigh those benefits. We are a certified and licensed asbestos abatement company and render work in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.
Additional Asbestos Related Services
- Containment - in some situations, containment using encapsulation, coatings, and/or removal of damaged and deteriorated sections are options. This is a possible cost-effective solution rather than a full abatement.
- Management - we can provide regular inspections, surveys, and testing to ensure property safety. As time goes on, more materials may deteriorate and require containment or removal where a full abatement isn't possible management wise because of operations or budget-wise. The safety of your property and those who inhabit it are our top concern.
- We work with both residential and commercial clients. We also work with many industrial hygienists who we consult with for protocol and testing.
Having asbestos testing done is useful for an older home or business, as well as if you are planning renovations. Unless the materials containing the asbestos are clearly labeled, it can be hard to identify them. While removing asbestos can be a hard process, the first step is to properly identify it. Asbestos can exist in a variety of different areas within the home and business. Some of these areas include ceiling spray, floor tiles, insulations, linoleums, exterior stuccos, and roofing. It’s important to start the testing process before a renovation or demolition takes place. You will need to contact a professional and this should not be done on your own. A professional will come to the home or business and identify any areas where asbestos could be present. They will then extract a sample and send it for testing.
Air Samples: Phase Contract Microscopy (PCM) is a common way to measure fiber concentrates that show if asbestos is present in the area. This method is commonly used because it will take less time and is cheaper than other methods. It won’t positively identify any fibers, but it does give a gauge on the types of fibers that are present in that air sample. If fibers are too small then another method, called Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), is used. This is one of the most sophisticated methods and can be standard practice, since it will allow researchers to find extremely small particles.
Building Material Samples: When testing building materials, different methods are employed. Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) is commonly used. This process uses the properties of polarized light to analyze any mineral-specific properties. It allows researchers to find asbestos particles.
Soil and Water Testing: Soil and water testing is used for environmental investigations to determine whether or not illegal dumping of any materials with asbestos has occurred. Soil tests can use PLM but can also be done using TEM. Any water samples will be analyzed with TEM.
Asbestos Removal & Abatement
Removing asbestos from a home or business yourself is not recommended, since it is extremely dangerous and there isn’t a safe level of exposure. Even a few fibers can have the potential to be inhaled and cause disease. In many states, homeowners may remove asbestos legally from an interior but not an exterior. You should never drill or sand asbestos-containing materials or use power tools on materials that contain asbestos. A technician should be involved in asbestos abatement and they will wear a disposable coverall, rubber gloves, boots, and protective eye goggles the entire time. They will also wear a respirator that is approved for the removal of asbestos. Others should be kept away from the working area and all protective gear should be removed before leaving the containment area to prevent the spread outside the area.
The Dangers of Asbestos
One of the ways asbestos can enter the body is by breathing. The material isn’t usually considered harmful unless it’s releasing fibers or dust into the air where it can be ingested or inhaled. The fibers then become trapped in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose and some will pass into the lungs. Once trapped in the body, fibers begin to cause health problems. It’s hard to destroy asbestos fibers and the body can’t break them down once they are in the body or lung tissues. Since they remain in place, they can cause diseases. The diseases associated with asbestos include lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer and will commonly occur in the thin membrane lining of the abdomen, chest, and lungs. Since it’s rare, only about 200 cases are diagnosed each year, but virtually all of these cases are linked to asbestos exposure
Lung cancer is the number one cause of death related to asbestos exposure. Symptoms of lung cancer can include coughing or a change in breathing, as well as persistent chest pains or shortness of breath. Those who have been exposed to asbestos and another carcinogen, such as cigarette smoke, have a much greater risk of developing lung cancer than just those exposed to asbestos.
Asbestosis is a chronic non-cancerous respiratory disease. The inhaled asbestos will aggravate the lung tissue, which causes it to scar. Symptoms include shortness of breath or a dry crackling sound in the lungs when inhaling. In advanced stages, there may be cardiac failure. There is no treatment for this and the risk is minimal for those who aren’t exposed to asbestos.