Los Angeles Asbestos Testing – Asbestos is a deadly carcinogen known to cause Mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lung lining, and was used in a number
of common building materials found in homes built before 1978.
Asbestos is commonly found in:
- Tape and insulation used in heating duct.
- Acoustic popcorn ceiling
- Certain flooring tile
- Roofing felt
- Asbestos siding is rare, but can still be found
Asbestos Testing – We can take bulk samples of specific materials likely to contain asbestos, dust wipe samples to measure the level of asbestos your family is exposed to or air samples that will measure current levels of asbestos in the indoor air.
Why Test for Asbestos?
Most people spend at least 12 hours in their home each day and the EPA estimates that indoor air quality can be many times worse than the outdoor air. Ensuring your indoor air is healthy and safe for your family will pay off in the short term and long term health of your family. If your home was built before 1978 then it may contain Asbestos building materials which could be putting Asbestos fibers into the air. There is also a greater chance the building materials contain the chemical Formaldehyde, another carcinogen and health risk which can easily be off-gased and mixed into the indoor air.
Asbestos-Containing Products in the Home
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission notes the following areas where asbestos hazards may be found in the home:
- Cement roofing and siding shingles
- Insulation in houses built between 1930 and 1950
- Textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints
- Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces
- Older products such as stove-top pads
- Walls and floors around wood burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
- Some vinyl floor tiles, and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
- Hot water and steam pipes in older houses with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
- Asbestos insulation for oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets
In addition, the National Safety Council warns of asbestos found in:
- Soundproofing or decorative material
- Automobile brake pads, linings, clutch facings, and gaskets
The presence of asbestos-containing materials in a home is not hazardous unless the material becomes damaged. Damaged, deteriorating, or friable asbestos that becomes dry and crumbles into a powder may release asbestos fibers into the air that can be inhaled and can pose a health risk for the residents.
Limiting Asbestos Exposure
There are several ways a person can become exposed to asbestos, according to a Canadian Environmental Law Association report, when renovating a home, including:
- Disturbing loose-fill insulation and ripping away hot water tank insulation
- Removing roof shingles or siding
- Sanding or scraping asbestos floor or ceiling tiles
- Sanding plaster or coatings, such as roofing compounds, sealants, paint, putty caulking and drywall products that contain asbestos
During home renovation projects, work often involves cutting, scraping and sanding that can quickly damage asbestos-containing materials. The dust generated by these processes can travel throughout the house and remain airborne for weeks where it can be breathed in by the residents.
If you plan on repairing, renovating or remodeling your home, and if you are in the U.S. and your house was built prior to 1980, have your house tested for asbestos. If your home does have asbestos-containing materials that are not damaged and have not been disturbed, your family should be safe from inhaling fibers. However, if the asbestos has been compromised and is damaged, you may need to hire professionals to conduct the work.
Managing Storage Areas
When retrieving stored items from an attic or basement, sometimes for many years, water damage and deteriorating insulation is often discovered. Attics and basements are the main areas where asbestos-containing insulation was used. The water damage and years of deterioration might cause the asbestos fibers to be exposed, so when moving boxes or items in and out of these areas in the home, it might cause the exposed asbestos fibers to become airborne and you will be at risk of inhaling or swallowing these particles.
Do not disturb the materials, if possible.
The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends:
- Limiting the number of times you go in and out of the area.
- Keep children out
- Placing the boxes on a moistened towel, and wiping down the items with a wet towel or sponge, to prevent the fibers from becoming airborne.
- Cleaning the area with wet cloths only – do not sweep or vacuum as this will stir up the fibers.
If there is damage in the area, check with a local asbestos abatement company to determine if work should be done to contain the area.
Asbestos in the Garage
As noted by the National Safety Council, brakes, clutches and other car parts were once built with asbestos-containing products. Individuals who work on their vehicles in their home garage may be at risk for inhaling asbestos fibers. It is not possible to determine whether brake or clutch components contain asbestos simply by looking at them, but some vehicles and parts may contain labels indicating whether those components contain asbestos.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that mechanics should assume all brakes have asbestos-type shoes. For most mechanics, instead of blowing dust out when working on brakes and clutches, using a wet cloth to remove the dust should be an effective method for preventing asbestos fibers from becoming airborne.
If you are a mechanic working in a commercial garage, follow the safety guidelines of the business to prevent asbestos exposure.
Contact your local EPA office for more information about safety in your home.
Information courtesy of www.mesotheliomahelp.org