Are you considering renovating your home? Are you buying a house?
One of the most important steps is to make sure you do not have an asbestos problem. During renovations, asbestos can be disturbed and asbestos fibres can be released into the air you breathe. This poses a health risk to everyone breathing that air.
Similarly, when you are buying a house, you should speak with a licensed asbestos contractor to ensure that your new home is asbestos free.
If your home has recently been renovated, and asbestos tests came back showing that you have a problem, you need to consider hiring a licensed contractor to do your asbestos abatement for you.
There are an abundance of laws and legislations governing the process of asbestos removal, transportation and disposal. A licensed general abatement contractor, or certified building inspector is the most hassle-free solution to removing and disposing of your problem asbestos. Such a contractor or inspector will take care of all the necessary paperwork, and will also ensure that the asbestos is removed in a controlled environment, which will contain the asbestos fibres.
PLEASE NOTE: While it is certainly possible to do this whole process yourself, it is NOT RECOMMENDED. Asbestos fibres are very dangerous, and if not treated correctly can cause serious health issues, and can lead to death in severe cases.
For help with your asbestos removal, contact us today on (303) 622-5884
Asbestos Frequently Asked Questions
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral silicate that is mined for use in a variety of materials because it is extremely fire-resistant. Some of the things that commonly contain asbestos are:
- roofing materials
- vinyl floor tiles
- stucco and plaster
- brake pads and shoes
- fire doors
- pipe insulation
What are the health risks of being exposed to asbestos?
Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Once inhaled the fibers cannot be absorbed or expelled by the body. Scar tissue builds up around the fibers in the lungs and causes breathing difficulties.
Asbestos exposure also can lead to the chronic lung disease asbestosis which causes painful coughing, shortness of breath and chest pain. While asbestosis is not cancer, suffering from it can lead to lung cancer.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and fatal cancer that attacks the protective membranes around the lungs, heart, abdomen and testicles. Plueral mesothelioma is the most commonly diagnosed cancer associated with asbestos exposure.
How can I tell if there is asbestos in my home or building?
You can’t tell if there is asbestos in any kind of materials just by looking at it. Asbestos fibers cannot be seen with the human eye and only a special kind of microscope can determine if building materials contain asbestos.
Testing for the presence of asbestos should always be done by a state certified asbestos contractor who has undergone extensive training in the safest methods for testing any home for it.
Hasn’t all use of asbestos been banned in the United States?
No. In the 1970s and 1980s the dangers of exposure to asbestos prompted many forms of it being banned for use in building, but, in the 1990s the Supreme Court overturned the ban. Asbestos containing materials are still imported from other countries and used here.
What is the law concerning testing and removal of asbestos in a building or private residence?
Buildings with public access must be tested for asbestos containing materials (ACM) by a state certified asbestos contractor before any kind of renovation, addition or demolition is to be started. The testing process has many steps in order to be compliant with state laws with strict rules and regulation in place to protect the public from any accidental exposure to asbestos fibers.
A private homeowner is exempt from the law and may obtain samples for testing themselves. However, it is strongly recommended that you do not do this as the risk of exposure for yourself and your family is very high. There are no safe levels of asbestos exposure and all test samples should be collected by a state certified asbestos removal company.
Testing of building material samples for asbestos must be done at a state certified laboratory what is part of the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program under the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
My home was built in the 1970s so it probably has asbestos in it. Should I get that removed right away?
Not necessarily. Asbestos that is in good condition and not friable does not pose a health threat unless it is disturbed.
Friable asbestos refers to ACM that are easily pulverized and reduced to powder, meaning the asbestos fibers can escape into the environment and be inhaled. If the ACM is not in poor condition it is best to not disturb it.
Regularly inspecting your home to ensure any asbestos in it does not become friable is a good idea. Crumbling or cracks forming in the drywall is cause for concern. If you see frayed insulation or floor tiles, loose or badly damaged roofing, or see the insulation around your pipes starting to unravel, you could potentially have asbestos fibers circulating in the air.
Contact a state certified asbestos testing and abatement company to collect samples of the materials. If the results are positive for asbestos fibers then the damaged materials should be removed from the home at once.
There are several safety measures that must be taken in order to remove ACM in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations. A private homeowner is not compelled by law to have a state certified asbestos contractor remove the materials and may do it themselves. However, the health risks are very high and it is best to obtain the services of professional asbestos abatement (removal) company to protect yourself and your family from any exposure to the deadly fibers.
I own property with an old building on it that I intend to have torn down. Can the demolition contractor test for asbestos and remove it if needed?
The State of Colorado requires all buildings with public access to be tested for asbestos by a state certified asbestos contractor before any kind of demolition or renovation can commence. The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) is the agency that oversees the training and certification of these individuals.
When you schedule testing for asbestos in any building be sure to ask for the contractor’s credentials that show he/she has been certified by the State of Colorado for the safe testing and removal of ACM.
Asbestos removal can only be done by a state certified asbestos abatement company and a certified asbestos contractor must be on-site at all times removal is being done to be compliant with state laws. All ACM must be properly packaged for transport and there are only a limited number of landfills that accept materials containing friable asbestos in this state.
I am having testing for asbestos done in my basement. What should I do to prepare?
Your certified asbestos contractor should walk you through all the safety precautions necessary to ensure neither you, your family, pets or neighbors are exposed to asbestos during the testing process. You will definitely need to:
- turn off all fans, heaters, the air-conditioning and ventilation systems of any kind that could blow asbestos fibers around the home.
- all family members and pets should leave the area during the testing process
Follow the instructions your asbestos contractor gives you before, during and after the testing process is completed to avoid any potential exposure to the fibers. You should expect the contractor to be wearing several layers of protective gear, to place protective barriers over the test area and use water to wet those areas where samples are taken to reduce the risk of fibers being released in the air.
All testing materials, safety barriers and clothing worn by the contractor should be sealed in plastic bags for proper transportation and disposal. The areas tested should be covered with plastic and not be disturbed by yourself or family members until they are completely patched.
How can I tell if I have been exposed to asbestos?
Unfortunately it is very difficult to tell if you have inhaled asbestos fibers for many years, even decades. The symptoms of asbestosis and mesothelioma are similar to other lung disorders. If you ever begin experiencing shortness of breath, have sudden unexplained weight loss, painful coughing or chest pain you should have a physician examine your lungs for scar tissue, which could indicated that asbestos fibers are trapped there.
Is there really that much danger of being exposed to asbestos anymore, especially in a new home or building?
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) determined, after a lengthy investigation that, “the general public is unaware of the extent to which ACM exists in everyday life.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment examines and certifies about 2,400 people and businesses to perform asbestos abatement in the state of Colorado at a cost of about $1.1 million a year. Asbestos containing materials are not banned entirely for use in this country and many buildings, regardless of when they were constructed, contain asbestos which makes vigilant testing, rigors laws and regulations for its removal necessary to protect the public from exposure.