Everybody should be aware of the issues surrounding asbestos, it’s original use in building construction and the fact that it is no longer used in building materials. It’s hard to believe but asbestos can be found in flooring materials, wall insulation and pipe insulation materials such as tape and wrappings that were used for heating and cooling venting and, of course, in wall materials such as drywall. We haven’t used asbestos in building since the 1980’s, so what are the dangers these days?
What are the dangers of asbestos today.
The dangers still very much exist, and are directly related to the abatement, or removal of the products as they release particles when jostled in any way. As long as the original material remains inactive; as long as it is not being jostled or moved around (think old ceiling tiles or tape), then there is no real danger presented, but the worries begin as soon as removal work gets under because of renovation or demolition surrounding these contaminated items. You might not know it to see it because the fibers are virtually invisible to the naked eye. Trust the danger.Now we know Improper asbestos removal and abatement is very serious and needs to be handled by experts who know how to deal with the micro-fibers flying about when the material is moved. The first thing to ask is ‘who is responsible for the finding and removal of asbestos?’ The quick answer is: to be in accordance with Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, the responsibility lies with the building owners and employers to make sure asbestos-containing materials are made manifest and proper risk assessments are done and memorialized.
Asbestos removal and safe abatement and records.
When asbestos has been found, and reasons to remove it are realized, these jobs are supposed to be handled by licensed asbestos abatement professionals, but this doesn’t always happen. It is incumbent upon home owners and commercial or industrial building owners to seek out asbestos contamination advice and information, especially if they know that a building was built or renovated before the early-eighties or even later in larger industrial buildings.If you look at the news, and historical articles of asbestos abatement, there are many stories of illegal asbestos removal and landlords or homeowners taking shortcuts. One of the most common mistakes is relying on disposable masks that do very little to retard the intake of fibers. As mentioned above asbestos fibers are far too small to see without magnification. The only certainty that asbestos is present, is from a qualified laboratory sample test. The fines and penalties are extensive but it is unfathomable that individuals would risk their health as well as the health of others to cut a corner or two to save time and money. Use a company with a reputation and make sure you organize proper remediation of asbestos or any hazardous material for that matter. It’s a responsibility.
This writer knows a father son team of renovators who worked on an older home many years ago. It was a difficult renovation but eventually got done. Towards the end of the job, they suspected they had been working with asbestos and tried to deal with it as best they could. Unfortunately they both became ill with the lung disease known as Mesothelioma that comes with exposure to asbestos. It was not a good outcome.
All reputable demolition and renovation contractors will be aware of the possibilities of asbestos contamination. They will advise how the asbestos remediation should be handled in the safest way and make you feel totally safe and comfortable with the process. When done carefully and lawfully, the job at hand can be done just fine.