Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used over the last century in building products due to its excellent durability. Asbestos is especially resistant to heat and chemicals.
Asbestos was widely used in building products beginning in the 1930s and through the 1970s. During this same time period, increased reports of Mesothelioma, Asbestosis and other asbestos-related diseases were linked to asbestos exposure.
Although asbestos is now highly regulated, it is important to know that asbestos can still be found in newer homes and has a high probability of being present in homes built before the 1980s.
Unfortunately, asbestos is commonly missed and not tested for by contractors prior to demolition or remodel. It is extremely important for your contractor to verify the absence of asbestos prior to disturbing any building materials that can potentially contain asbestos.
Why should I be concerned about asbestos on my construction project?
Asbestos-containing materials are generally considered safe or inert if they are not disturbed. Most asbestos-containing materials are considered friable, or "easily crumbled" during construction activities. For this reason, asbestos-containing materials are a concern as fibers can be released into the air during demolition or remodel activities. If these materials are not properly removed, they can pose an asbestos exposure risk to workers and building occupants.
If you or your contractor are planning a remodel, it is important to first identify the presence of asbestos before any potential asbestos-containing materials are removed. This is done by first obtaining a "Good Faith Survey" from a certified AHERA building inspector. Please contact DK Environmental for a referral to firms that provide this service.
Once the presence of asbestos has been identified, it is strongly recommended that a certified professional is hired for the removal or demolition. Without the proper engineering controls, asbestos fibers can be released into the air creating a health hazard. Health hazards are not the only negative aspect of improper removal. The fines for contractors who do not follow the procedure are substantial and could derail a remodel project or budget. If you are planning to remove asbestos yourself please contact the Department of Labor and Industries Asbestos Program before doing so.
Asbestos abatement contractors must be certified by the Department of Labor and Industries to perform abatement services in Washington state. DK Environmental is a certified firm and is ready to assist you with professional technicians who can perform your asbestos abatement correctly and safely.