Precision Environmental Services is an environmental consulting company that provides environmental consulting services, testing, site investigation and remediation activities and technologies, abatement of hazardous contaminants, and restoration and repair of damages in structures. Precision provides its services to clients in the DFW metroplex for commercial and residential customers to include Argyle, Denton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Roanoke, Justin, Lake Dallas, Ponder, Southlake, Little Elm, Fort Worth, Keller, Grapevine, Krum, Coppell, Aubrey, The Colony, Colleyville, Haslet, North Richland Hills, Carrollton, Frisco, Irving, Hurst, Sanger, Bedford, Rhome, Euless, Newark, Dallas, Plano, Addison, Haltom City, Pilot Point, Arlington, Prosper, Decatur, Valley View, and Grand Prairie.
Background on Asbestos
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in many building materials, including insulation, drywall, and roofing. In insulating materials, asbestos fibers create heat when they are disturbed or damaged by the friction of movement which is the natural result of moisture and heat. While they vary in color, asbestos is predominantly brown, black, and white.
Asbestos is often divided into six categories: Chrysotile (white, thin fibers), Amosite (gray-brown, thick fibers), Crocidolite (black, needle-like fibers) Tremolite (greenish-gray and black, long fibrous crystals), Actinolite (dark gray and black, shorter crystals), and Anthophyllite (light gray, thick fibers).
Asbestos can be found in a variety of products labeled with an international symbol for the safety warning which means ‘danger-asbestos.’ Some of these products include boilers, insulation materials, cement factories, and building materials. Asbestos can also be found in brake pads.
What is Asbestosis?
Asbestosis disease can develop due to exposure to asbestos fibers because they increase damage to the lungs from breathing smoke and fumes from fires ignited by burning asbestos-containing materials. The dangers associated with exposure to asbestos fibers can also cause lung cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categorizes asbestos exposure by inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact.
How Does Asbestos Enter the Body?
Asbestos fibers can enter the body in a variety of ways. Breathing in toxic air-borne asbestos fibers is the primary way you can be exposed to asbestos. People with underlying lung conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at greater risk for developing adverse health effects from breathing in asbestos fibers than healthy people are. Ingestion can also be a risk factor for developing asbestos-related health effects. Ingestion of asbestos can occur if it is present in dust or soil in the home, workplace, or other places. Asbestos fibers are also released from damaged buildings and vehicles that have been exposed to high levels of heat, such as from fire or traffic accidents. Skin contact with asbestos-containing materials has also been linked to health effects including skin irritation and cancer.
For example, people who work with asbestos-containing materials during demolition work may develop scarring on their skin called dermal scarring (carcinoma). Inhalation is the least common route of exposure to asbestos. While the risk of developing cancer does vary with the type and amount of asbestos, nearly all individuals exposed to high amounts of asbestos are also at risk for a range of lung diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
In the United States, there are over 15 million people suffering from asbestosis and it has been estimated that there will be over 4 million new cases of the disease by 2020. The total cost of this disease is around $1 billion a year.
When Do You Need to Inspect for Asbestos?
It is essential to have an asbestos inspection done before any construction or remodeling projects begin, as it can be dangerous if left unchecked. Additionally, regular inspections can help identify any potential asbestos issues before they become a problem. An experienced inspector can detect the presence of asbestos and provide advice on how best to mitigate its risks.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that the frequency of inspections depend on how much asbestos is present. For example, if there are only a few hundred square feet of asbestos in an area, it may be necessary to conduct an inspection once every three years. On the other hand, if there are thousands of square feet or more of asbestos present in a construction site, then it’s important to conduct inspections on a semi-annual basis. If someone is exposed to airborne particles containing asbestos during an inspection and has not been properly protected from such exposure, they should leave the area immediately and follow the emergency procedures. Some companies that have been building or renovating a structure have recently been made aware of the presence of asbestos and they need to conduct an inspection in order to ensure that it’s not released into the air at any point during the construction. They may also be told by a regulatory agency that they need to conduct an inspection because of previous complaints.
Brief History of Asbestos
Asbestos has been widely used for centuries, but its use became particularly popular during the Industrial Revolution. It was an inexpensive and versatile material that was used in a variety of products and applications. Asbestos was often used as insulation to keep buildings warm, to reinforce concrete and plaster, and even as a fireproofing material.
Where is Asbestos Usually Found?
Asbestos is usually found in older buildings, insulation materials, and other products. It is important to identify and remove any possible sources of asbestos as soon as possible to protect your health and the environment.
What Are the 6 Types of Asbestos?
There are six main types of asbestos: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Each type has different properties that may affect its toxicity and the potential risk posed to humans who come into contact with it. Knowing the different types of asbestos can help keep people safe from potential exposure in the workplace or home environment.
Chrysotile is the most common type of asbestos in the United States. It is the only type of asbestos that occurs naturally in the U.S. It has a high resistance to heat and chemicals, which increases its longevity as a building material, and it can be mixed with other fibers to produce stronger materials like cement and plaster. Chrysotile also makes up 40% of all asbestos currently mined for use, so it remains abundant despite regulations restricting its use.
Amosite forms in thin fibers that can be soaked up by the body and it is known as the most harmful type of asbestos because it is so easily inhaled. Crocidolite and anthophyllite are harder to come into contact with and are found primarily in older buildings. Tremolite is a very hard, durable kind of asbestos that has a high resistance to heat and chemicals, but because it breaks down into smaller particles, more of its fibers may be released in the air when exposed to fire or friction. Actinolite has similar properties but doesn’t crumble as much when heated up or hit with a hammer.
Asbestos Inspection vs a Traditional Home Inspection
An asbestos inspection is a specialized type of home inspection that focuses on identifying and evaluating materials that contain asbestos.
The traditional home inspection evaluates the overall condition of the property, while an asbestos inspection is focused specifically on areas that are likely to contain asbestos.
Both inspections should be conducted by a trained professional, who can identify and recommend solutions for any potential hazards.
Who Can Perform an Asbestos Inspection or Assessment?
The inspection or assessment should only be performed by a qualified professional who is trained in asbestos identification and abatement. This professional must be certified by a recognized authority, such as the EPA or OSHA, to ensure that the inspection is thorough and accurate. The results of the inspection can help determine whether asbestos removal is necessary and provide guidance on how to safely proceed with removal if it is needed.
What to Expect During Asbestos Inspection
During an asbestos inspection, the inspector will assess the condition of the building material, identify any potential sources of airborne asbestos fibers, and test air quality. They may also take samples to analyze for further testing. By following these steps, an inspector can provide assurance that the building is safe and free from any asbestos contamination.
How Long Does an Asbestos Survey Take?
A thorough asbestos survey is needed to identify any asbestos and determine how best to manage it. The length of an asbestos survey can vary depending on the size and complexity of the building, but typically takes around one to two days to complete.
What Types of Building Materials are Suspect and Require Asbestos Sampling?
Asbestos sampling is a critical component of assessing the safety of any building materials. Suspect building materials that may contain asbestos fibers are typically found in older buildings built before the 1980s and include insulation, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, drywall, vinyl sheet flooring, and sprayed-on fireproofing. If these materials have been disturbed or damaged in any way, asbestos testing should be done to determine if they contain asbestos and what type of abatement steps need to be taken.
Some of the building materials that require sampling are:
- Asbestos-containing floor tiles (e.g., terrazzo)
- Vinyl sheet flooring- Exterior insulation and insulation boards
- Ceiling tile, including suspended ceiling tiles
- Spray applied fireproofing
These samples are typically collected by using a wet mopping process and can be analyzed for asbestos fibers on laboratory equipment through the use of wet sieving, fiber counting, or scanning electron microscopy.
What to Do if an Asbestos Survey Report Comes Back Positive
If an asbestos survey report comes back positive, it is important to take immediate action. Asbestos can be a health hazard if it is not properly managed and removed. It is important to contact a licensed professional who can assess the situation and advise on the best course of action. It may be necessary to hire an asbestos removal company to safely remove any asbestos materials, or simply seal them in place. Taking the right precautions now can help you avoid costly and hazardous problems later.
What Must Be Included in an Asbestos Inspection and Assessment Report?
An asbestos inspection and assessment report is a key part of ensuring safe working conditions in any building or structure. It must detail the areas where asbestos is present, the type of asbestos and its condition, as well as any necessary removal or encapsulation measures. The report should also include information about the location and quantity of materials containing asbestos, a description of how asbestos exposure risks are managed, and recommendations for further action.
Removing asbestos should only be done by a professional, licensed contractor as special precautions must be taken in order to prevent further contamination and exposure. It is best to consult an expert before beginning any type of removal process.
What To Do If You Think You Have Asbestos?
If you think you may have asbestos in your home or workplace, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family. The first step is to contact an accredited asbestos removal professional who can assess the situation and advise on the best course of action.
Precision Environmental Services
Precision Environmental Services is an environmental consulting company that provides environmental consulting services, testing, site investigation and remediation activities and technologies, abatement of hazardous contaminants, and restoration and repair of damages in structures.
If you suspect asbestos may be present in or on your property, contact Precision Environmental Services for a free consultation with no further obligations.