“Currently, about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace. According to the most recent WHO estimates, more than 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis resulting from exposure at work. One in every three deaths from occupational cancer is estimated to be caused by asbestos. In addition, it is estimated that several thousand deaths annually can be attributed to exposure to asbestos in the home.”
Commonly found in older structures, asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which has been used in many building materials. If it is disturbed by fire, water, or structural damage, it becomes a health hazard. Although many people assume that asbestos is banned in the US , the federal law prohibiting the use of asbestos was overturned in 1991. Asbestos containing building materials may be present, even in new structures. And the law generally does not require that it be removed, though there are specific regulations for schools and other public facilities.
It is impossible to tell what materials contain asbestos without lab tests. Luckily, though most do not present a hazard unless the material is damaged and releasing fibers into the air. Whenever asbestos is discovered in a building, it is important to seal off the affected area and restrict entry in order to prevent potentially deadly exposure and cross-contamination. A licensed inspector should be called to evaluate the potential for exposure, and to take samples for laboratory testing. If the presence of asbestos is confirmed by testing, a licensed asbestos contractor should be called in to complete the asbestos abatement process.
Options for asbestos abatement include encapsulating (sealing) undamaged materials and removing materials, so that they can be disposed of in a special landfill. It is recommended that homeowners and business owners not attempt to sample or remove asbestos-containing materials themselves, as improper removal may be hazardous. The government imposes strict punishment including fines on individuals and contractors who improperly dispose of these materials.
Asbestos abatement is regulated by the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) and state law, so it is important to carefully plan and document removal procedures. We take care to discuss thoroughly any plan of action with our customers before beginning, so that everyone is satisfied that the abatement will eliminate the threat to health and will comply with the law for removal and disposal of dangerous waste.
From removal, encapsulation, and restoration, USR is licensed, insured, and experienced in hazardous materials projects like asbestos abatement. As required by law, we only use professionals who have the training and licensing to perform asbestos abatement in a safe and legal manner, and we will happily provide potential customers with documentation of our qualifications and references. We also work with independent Asbestos Inspectors and Air Sampling Professionals who can provide you with lab reports on the composition of your building materials, and reports on air quality before, during, and after abatement.