How Can I Identify Asbestos?
Asbestos is identified with a specified microscope, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you think a material contains asbestos, have it sampled by a qualified professional. Professionals have federal government training or certification courses. Some states have consulting agencies, individual consultants and inspectors to conduct an asbestos survey in public buildings, with contractors who remove asbestos. State and local health departments or EPA regional offices may have listings of licensed professionals in each area.
Should I Repair and Remove Asbestos?
If asbestos is found, the two types of corrections are containment or removal, which should be done by professionals.
Containment usually involves sealing or covering the material, states the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Removal should be considered as the option for most situations. This is recommended when containment is not an option. It’s complex and can only be done by a professional because improper removal increases the risk of fiber release.
What is an Asbestos Professional?
An asbestos professional should be accredited by the Environmental Protection Agency to handle asbestos. There are two types of accreditations: inspectors and contractors.
Asbestos inspectors can assess conditions, take samples of questionable material for testing, and suggest what corrections should be made in a home or building. If asbestos is contained or removed, inspectors can make sure proper procedures are followed, including clean up, and can inspect the air for asbestos fibers.
Asbestos contractors can safely contain or remove asbestos-containing materials. Federal law does not require asbestos contractors working in detached single-family homes to be trained and accredited, but some state and local laws do require accreditation. To ensure safety, it is recommended that homeowners work with qualified asbestos contractors.
What Should I do Before I Hire an Asbestos Abatement Professional?
1. Check the inspector or contractor’s credentials carefully.
Although some states and localities require asbestos inspectors and contractors in detached single-family homes to be trained and accredited, federal law does not. For safety, homeowners should require proof that workers are trained and accredited. Each worker in your home should provide proof of training and licensing.
2. Avoid conflicts of interest.
The inspector should not be connected with an asbestos-correction firm, suggests the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Two unaffiliated firms ensure there is no conflict of interest.
3. Ask for references from previous clients.
Contact those clients, and find out if they were satisfied. The CPSC warns that there have been reports of firms incorrectly claiming asbestos materials in homes must be replaced that wastes homeowner’s money.
4. Ask whether the professional has handled similar situations.
Firms have encouraged improper methods, states the CPSC, risking the health of the homeowners and their family.
5. Ask if the firm has had any safety violations.
Check with your local environmental expert, the local agency responsible for worker safety, and the Better Business Bureau. Find out if there are legal actions filed against it.
6. Get cost estimates from several professionals; costs can vary.
7. Get a written contract that should specify the
- Work plan
- Applicable federal, state, and local regulations which the contractor must follow (such as notification requirements and asbestos disposal procedures)
What Should the Asbestos Inspector Do?
The inspection should include a complete visual examination and collection of lab analysis of samples.
The inspector should describe the location and extent of damage in a written evaluation and recommend correction or prevention. The inspector may recommend and perform checks after the work to ensure the area has been properly cleaned.
Asbestos contractors and workers must use proper equipment such as wearing approved respirators, gloves, and other protective clothing.
Find out what the regulations are from your state and local health departments, EPA’s regional office, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regional office. Be sure the contractor follows local asbestos removal and disposal laws.
- The contractor should clearly mark the hazard area and seal it from the rest of the house and also turn off the heating and air conditioning system.
- Household members and pets should not enter the area until work is completed.
- Assure the contractor cleans the area well with wet mops, wet rags, sponges, or HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaners. Get written assurance that all procedures have been followed. Air monitoring may be necessary to assure that the contractor’s job is done properly.
You might also like reading
What Should I Do to Help?
Simply put, don’t do anything. Do not disturb any asbestos by:
Where Can I find Accredited Asbestos Abatement Professionals Near Me?
State and local health departments or EPA regional offices have the most up-to-date listings of accredited professionals in New York.