Asbestos is a dangerous natural mineral which, during the 20th century, was very widely used in construction. It is wise to get it out of your home or building. Every day that it remains in your home is another day closer to you or your loved ones getting terrible asbestos-related disease. Or, in the case of an office building, another day closer to getting many expensive asbestos lawsuits.
Before removal, testing is necessary. In this article, we detail how asbestos is tested. The Environmental Protection Agency, also known as EPA, recommends that only asbestos which is crumbling or otherwise in less than perfect condition be tested. This is because in order for asbestos to be tested, chunks are taken and brought to a lab. If the chunks are already off, then this just entails picking it up off the ground or other surface. But if the wall or other surface is in perfect condition, then breaking off a chunk would release asbestos fibers. Sometimes, though, it is necessary to test for asbestos even when the surface is in good condition. For example, if renovation or demolition is going to happen, then all asbestos needs to be removed first.
There are many cheap asbestos testing kits on the market to do by yourself. These are a very bad idea. Without the proper expertise, handling asbestos is extremely dangerous. And even if you were able to do it safely, it would be an extreme hassle to find a lab to test the samples. Not all asbestos testing kits include the lab price, so that would also be an added expense to the original sticker price. Professionals have all that covered.
Here are some guidelines for considering whether or not to get your home or building tested for asbestos. Rarely do buildings built after the year 2000 contain asbestos, because of all the public knowledge of it’s dangers at that point. Before having your building tested, look into its asbestos history. You can look for records of previous abatement on the premise. You can also contact previous owners of the building or even contact the architect, designer, or builder.
How is asbestos testing actually done? Simply put, samples are taken and then sent to a lab. But there are a lot of rules about the details. Here is an example of one of these rules, under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986, also known as AHERA. Non-friable materials which are suspected of containing asbestos need to have at least two samples taken of them. (Non-friable means that it doesn’t fall apart easily.) This is because the law says “bulk samples”. “Samples” is plural, so it is evident that at least two samples must be taken.
After testing, where the asbestos is found must be clearly marked while abatement has not yet occurred. You can use asbestos warning signs for this. Abatement should happen as soon as possible, since every day asbestos is kept in a building makes you, your family, or your employees a lot more likely to get a dangerous disease.
Call us today at (708) 367-3381 to ask about asbestos testing and removal.