Before you start renovating an older home or historic building, you need to be aware of the potential for asbestos. This naturally occurring mineral was once widely used in construction due to its fire-resistant properties. However, exposure to its fibers can lead to serious health problems, including a rare and fatal type of lung cancer called mesothelioma. This is why it’s crucial to do testing before beginning renovations in older structures.
Friable Asbestos Is Especially Dangerous
The term “friable asbestos” refers to asbestos that can crumble with hand pressure. This type is especially hazardous because when it’s airborne, it can be inhaled and cause health problems including increasing the risk of some cancers. Even a tiny percentage of it in old building materials can be risky. Health problems caused by asbestos include:
- Stomach cancer
- Colon cancer
- Esophagus cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Cancers of the oral cavity
Many California Historic Buildings Are At Risk Of Asbestos
Any business or dwelling constructed before the 1980s is more likely to contain asbestos, although it’s not always easy to identify the substance by sight. An environmental consulting company can test these and other items throughout your renovation site to determine whether it’s safe to proceed or whether removal is necessary. Here are some specific materials to beware of.
- Crumbly Insulation
- Pipes and Boiler Insulation
- Floor Tiles
- Ceiling Tiles
- Roofing Materials
- Stucco Or Plaster
- Siding Materials
- Cement Board Or Sheetrock
- Popcorn Ceilings
- Electrical Wiring Insulation
The EPA Strictly Regulates Asbestos
Before you delve into any demo work on a historic building, consider this information straight from the Environmental Protection Agency:
The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations under the Clean Air Act specify work practices for asbestos to be followed during demolitions and renovations of all structures, installations, and buildings (excluding residential buildings that have four or fewer dwelling units). The regulations require the owner of the building or the operator to notify the appropriate state agency before any demolition, or before any renovations of buildings that could contain a certain threshold amount of asbestos or asbestos-containing material.
Asbestos Testing Can Save Lives
If you suspect that your home or office contains asbestos, it is vital to have it tested by a qualified professional. Once identified, there are several options for dealing with it, including removal and encapsulation. However, it is important to note that disturbing these fibers can increase the risk of exposure, so it is always best to leave inspections, removal, and abatement to trained professionals.
Monterey County Asbestos Inspections
Asbestos can be dangerous if disturbed, so it’s crucial to know your status before starting any demo work. In Monterey County, California, M3 Environmental can identify dangerous substances in historic homes and recommend additional measures to ensure everyone’s safety going forward. Call us today to schedule an asbestos inspection and be in compliance with federal and state laws.