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Asbestos & Lead: Facts and Dangers Property Owners Should Know

| Community | November 10, 2017

by Jenee Child

Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC and General Contractors Avoid Costly Fines

If your home or building was built before 1985, you may be in danger of breathing in asbestos containing materials (ACM) or lead if you remodel or hire a contractor after having water, mold, vehicle or fire damage to your property.

Because of its high-insulation characteristic, asbestos was often added to construction materials in the 1980s. Although ACM materials were no longer being manufactured in 1985, they were still being sold, stored and used in construction. Lead was also used in paint in homes and buildings constructed prior to 1978. Residential homes and commercial buildings built before 1985 should be tested for asbestos, and any constructed before 1978 should be tested for lead prior to removal of wall, ceiling, flooring or roofing materials.

Testing labs employ trained professionals who specialize in identifying lead and asbestos. Asbestos can be found in vinyl floor tiles and floor mastic; drywall or drywall patching compound; wall texture; insulation for furnaces, stoves, pipes and electrical; some roofing shingles and mastic, as well as siding materials. Asbestos is most commonly found in ceiling textures such as “popcorn” or “cottage cheese,” which are also known as “acoustic ceiling materials.”
Although the amount of asbestos found in our communities today is becoming scarce due to laws and regulations, Cal OSHA regulates asbestos and lead removal and sets strict guidelines for contractors to dispose of them as hazardous waste. Failure to do so can result in costly fines. Contractors who are not certified to remove asbestos and lead materials can cross-contaminate a home or building, deeming it to be an unsafe environment for its occupants.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, “Most exposure today comes when old insulation or tiling is disturbed during construction projects … and proper precautions are not taken to avoid breathing in dust.”

The only way asbestos can affect your health is if the fibers are disturbed, become airborne and are inhaled.

Jenee’ Child is CEO and founder of SOS Solutions Inc., which offers scheduling of certified testing labs and contractors to remove and properly dispose of asbestos and lead for homeowners at no charge. SOS also provides free project management services to electricians, plumbers, HVAC and other contractors who are not certified to handle, remove or dispose of materials containing asbestos, lead or mold. Contact SOS at 888-589-1868 or visit TrustSOS.Solutions.

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