Showing posts with label Asbestos Ceiling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Asbestos Ceiling. Show all posts

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Never-Ending Construction Clamor

Asbestos Concerns
I am a rent-stabilized tenant living in an apartment building that is being converted from rentals to condos. Asbestos is being removed from several units. (Warning signs have been posted on the doors.) Fumes leak into the hall outside my unit. Am I safe?
Upper East Side, Manhattan
Asbestos fibers are odorless, tasteless and generally invisible to the naked eye. Asbestos is also a well-known carcinogen and a federally regulated hazardous substance. Areas where asbestos is being removed are supposed to be maintained under negative pressure to keep dust and asbestos fibers from being released into other spaces, according to Peter E. Varsalona, a principal of RAND Engineering and Architecture.

The fumes you are noticing could contain harmful substances, including asbestos, but without having the area professionally inspected, one cannot be certain. “Whatever the tenant is discerning, it’s a product of the ongoing demolition work in the area.” Mr. Varsalona said, adding that the fumes might or might not contain asbestos fibers.
An independent firm is supposed to monitor the air inside and outside the work area. If you are concerned about your safety or suspect the work is being done improperly, report the situation to your landlord. Also, call 311 to report the condition to the Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees asbestos abatement and can send out an inspector to assess the situation.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Where is Asbestos Found in Homes? More Places Than You Might Think…

Asbestos, a mineral fiber, was once widely used in a number of construction materials, including: roofing, flooring and ceiling tiles, insulation materials, and more. If the material isn’t wood, metal, glass, or plastic, there’s a chance it could contain asbestos. The existence of asbestos itself is not the issue; it becomes an issue when the material starts to break down when it is damaged, decayed, or disturbed. Home improvement efforts often free asbestos fibers and release them into the air, where can be inhaled and cause a number of health hazards.
 Laws and Regulations about Asbestos
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned some, but not all, uses of asbestos. These bans took place from 1973 until 1989. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the following products cannot be made, imported, processed, or distributed in the United States if they contain asbestos:
  • Corrugated paper
  • Rollboard
  • Commercial paper
  • Specialty paper
  • Flooring felt
The regulation also prevents products that previously did not contain asbestos from being manufactured to contain it, as a “new use” product.
Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), the following asbestos-containing products are now banned:
  • Asbestos block and pipe insulation
  • Spray-on surfacing applications
  • Spray-on applications of asbestos that contain more than 1% asbestos to buildings, pipes, structures, and conduits (unless certain conditions are met)
Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, asbestos cannot be used in artificial fireplace embers or in wall patching compounds.
Federal law does not prohibit the manufacture, import, processing, or distribution of the following potentially asbestos-containing products: cement in some forms, clothing, vinyl floor tiles, roofing felt, brakes, automatic transmission parts, and many other common products.
Items in Your Home That May Contain Asbestos
If your home was constructed between the 1940s and 1970s, there’s a very real risk that some materials in your home contain asbestos.
  1. Thermal insulation on basement boilers and pipes; oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may contain asbestos insulation
  2. Insulation products that contain vermiculite (used in walls and attics)
  3. Vinyl floor tile and adhesives
  4. Textured paints and patching compounds (used on walls and ceilings)
  5. Roofing
  6. Siding shingles
  7. Areas around wood burning stoves may be protected with millboard, paper, or cement sheets containing asbestos
  8. Pipes may be coated with asbestos
  9. Window glazing
Note: This is not a comprehensive list.
Friable vs. Non-Friable Asbestos
There are two types of asbestos: friable and non-friable. Friable refers to an asbestos-containing material that can be crumbled under the pressure of the hands, which increases the likelihood the fibers will be emitted into the air. Spray-on materials, insulation, and asbestos used in soundproofing applications is considered friable. Non-friable materials are those that typically do not release fibers into the air as long as they are left intact. These materials include vinyl floor tiles, roof felt, and siding. However, be aware that if non-friable materials are subjected to abuse through sanding, sawing, nailing or other forms of destruction, they can become friable and release asbestos fibers into the air.
This is why most good-condition asbestos-containing materials can be left alone. However, if you’re doing any remodeling or renovation, for the sake of your health, it’s important to get the materials you’ll be removing, destroying, or working with in any way tested for asbestos—BEFORE you begin making any major changes to your home.
Which States are at the Highest Risk?
People in all states have a risk of mortality due of asbestos exposure. Some states are higher simply because their population is older, while other states are higher because of the increased environmental and occupational sources of exposure. The state of Wisconsin ranks 14th for mesothelioma and asbestosis deaths, with most deaths occurring in and around Milwaukee. Milwaukee has a blue-collar history of metal working and paper manufacturing, two industries which often used asbestos in their factory insulation. Other areas of the state with high cases of mesothelioma include: Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, and Waukesha—all areas where paper mills are currently running or where they ran in the past.
For safety, never assume items in your older home do not contain asbestos. If you are aware of materials that contain asbestos in your home, leave them alone. If those materials need to be removed because of a remodeling project, contact the asbestos professionals at Wing Three to determine the protocol you’re required to follow for removal.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What Is the Best Method for Asbestos Disposal?

There are four recommended ways to dispose of asbestos. These methods include dry stripping, controlled wet stripping, high pressured water removal, and hot stripping. While all of these methods are effective, removal of asbestos is actually not necessary. In fact, removing asbestos can be more dangerous than allowing this material to remain as it currently is.
Contrary to popular belief, asbestos in its natural form is not dangerous. In fact, asbestos was once used for all kinds of commercial and industrial applications from boat construction to building construction. Asbestos can withstand high temperatures, it is not affected by abrasion, and it does not react to alkaline or acid solutions. For all of these reasons, contractors and developers used to prefer asbestos to any other material.

The problem is that asbestos can be highly toxic when it has been disturbed. When asbestos has been handled by human hands, crushed, sawed, chiseled, or moved in any other manner, it turns into a toxic powder. When inhaled, asbestos powder directly affects the lung area. This powder has been known to cause cancer, lung problems, and other illnesses. If asbestos has been damaged in any manner, then it should be removed by qualified removal professionals. It is never a good idea to remove asbestos without professional help. 

Due to its fragile state, it is best to leave undamaged asbestos alone. If removal is necessary, a better understanding of the aforementioned stripping methods is important. Dry stripping involves simply removing asbestos without any amount of moisture. While this is the simplest method, it is not a method that is usually recommended. Since dry stripping produces a large amount of dust, the amount of toxins released during this method is very high.
High pressured water removal is another popular way to remove asbestos. Using a high pressure water hose, asbestos is removed by force. This is a method that is solely reserved for industrial spaces that are hard to reach. Controlled wet stripping is performed by injecting warm water into asbestos with specialized needles. This effectively weighs down the material, which helps to control the amount of dust released during removal.
Hot stripping techniques include the use of a ventilation system along with hot air. By blowing asbestos fibers with hot air, any residue can be directed towards a powerful ventilation system. Thus, any fibers that may be floating in the air are contained. All four methods of asbestos disposal are effective, though none of the asbestos disposal methods mentioned should be attempted on your own without professional help.
Only a professional can determine the right kind of asbestos disposal for your building or home. In addition, asbestos disposal should not be thought of until you are certain that any asbestos inside of your home or building is, indeed, a problem. Otherwise, asbestos disposal is simply not necessary. Keep in mind that asbestos is only dangerous if it has been disturbed. 

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles