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Suspect Asbestos? Call Superior Cleaning and Restoration!
10/04/2013

Asbestos is a highly regulated substance that is dangerous to human health and should only be handled or removed by professionals. But what exactly is asbestos?

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber known for its fire- and heat-resistant properties. Asbestos was incorporated into thousands of building materials in the years before 1984, including "popcorn" and acoustic tile ceilings, furnace and duct insulation, drywall taping and joint compound, textured paints and plasters, and linoleum and vinyl flooring, including mastics. Manufacturers were allowed to stockpile asbestos for use in their products after it was banned in the 1970’s to be used in spray-applied products. As a result, homeowners and building contractors working today sometimes come into contact with asbestos when they renovate older homes.

After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proved that inhaling asbestos fibers caused and/or increased the risk of developing a number of incurable lung diseases (including lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma), the substance was banned from use in most building materials. A common asbestos-containing material that poses a health risk in a home or business is posed by original acoustic ceiling spray found in buildings built before 1984, because the substance can be easily disturbed, leading to the release of asbestos fibers into the air or onto clothing and carpeting.

According to the National Resources Defense Council, asbestos is still allowed in some building materials including, but not limited to, the following:  insulation, ceiling tiles, floor tiles and dry wall, as well as automotive brake pads, gaskets and clutches. It is critical for everyone to be aware that asbestos exposure poses a health hazard when fibers are released into the air where they could be inhaled.

When disturbing or making repairs on materials made of asbestos, or when remodeling a home or homes constructed with materials containing asbestos, it is critical to work with a licensed and certified asbestos abatement contractor. The contractor will properly remove all affected hazardous materials according to EPA- and state-regulated practices. Keep in mind that even outdoors, construction and other activities can churn up naturally occurring asbestos to create a potential hazard. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Asbestiform minerals occur naturally in rock and soil as the result of natural geologic processes, often in veins near earthquake faults in the coastal ranges and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Naturally occurring asbestos is also found in other areas of the country.” 

If a material is suspected of containing asbestos, the situation can be handled in two ways – and Superior Cleaning and Restoration is prepared to take care of this process for you. The first option is to simply assume that the material in question is an Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) and to have a licensed asbestos abatement contractor remove it with methods that satisfy the regulations set by the EPA, the Department of Labor & Industries and WISHA (the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act). Alternatively, a certified AHERA Building Inspector can test a bulk sample of the substance and create a limited building survey. Bulk samples are analyzed at a certified testing lab.  The lab’s report will indicate if the building material contains asbestos, and if so, what type of asbestos and the percentage of asbestos in the material. We will then design a removal plan according to the appropriate regulations.

For more information about asbestos and the role Superior Cleaning and Restoration can take in its safe removal, call us at 1-800-99-CLEAN.

Superior Cleaning & Coit Cleaning and Restoration in Woodinville, WA holds a Construction Contractor, General license (SUPERI 973KR).

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