Showing posts with label asbestos removal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label asbestos removal. Show all posts

Friday, May 22, 2020

Asbestos in Heating Ducts Exposure and Risks

Heating ducts installed before the 1980s used insulation containing asbestos that is now known to cause cancer called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is an exceptionally aggressive disease that’s caused by direct or indirect exposure to asbesto

Asbestos in Heating Ducts Explained

Heating ducts in residential and commercial buildings may result in dangerous asbestos exposure from many different sources.
For years, lagging cloth and asbestos paper was used by the HVAC industry to line and insulate pipes in heating and cooling systems within homes, offices, and other buildings.
Paper, cloth, and other insulation materials are often used to repair potential weaknesses in the heating ducts and reinforce the overall system.
For example, an adhesive is applied to any area along the duct system that is experiencing, or could encounter, an outflow of air, and may then be wrapped with insulating cloth or paper.
In some cases, duct dampeners are used to reduce vibration and secure flexible joints.

Asbestos in HVAC Insulation

In the prime of asbestos use, lagging cloth, duct dampeners, and other duct wrappings usually contained asbestos fibers.
Insulation manufacturers used asbestos because it was inexpensive and had many desirable properties. Asbestos is durable, heat- and fire-resilient, easy to use, and has superb soundproofing qualities.
Did You Know?
Asbestos was considered an excellent component for insulation. As a result, asbestos-containing cloth and pipe wrapping paper were used in many heating and cooling systems built or installed prior to the 1980s.
Today, North American lagging cloth brands no longer contain asbestos. However, many homes built or renovated before the 1980s will still have lagging cloth, dampeners, or asbestos
The following people are at the highest risk of exposure to asbestos in heating ducts:
  • Insulation factory workers
  • HVAC workers
  • Steel and duct workers
  • Construction workers
  • DIY homeowners
  • Family members
Although manufacturers stopped using asbestos in heating duct insulation, people who work with HVAC systems built before the 1980s are still at risk of exposure today.
These individuals should take care to use proper precautionary equipment when cutting, removing, or otherwise disturbing heating ducts that may contain asbestos.
Fortunately, undisturbed asbestos in harmless. It’s only when the asbestos is moved or damaged that the fibers become airborne and put people at risk of inhalation.
If you have heating ducts containing asbestos in your home, you’re advised not to remove the pipe wrap on your own. Instead, call experienced asbestos abatement technicians for assistance

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When asbestos fibers are damaged or disturbed, they can become airborne. Airborne fibers can be inhaled or ingested by anyone nearby, often without a person even knowing.
Once these asbestos fibers are in the body, they get stuck in the body’s natural lining, and the body has no mechanism for removing the lodged fibers.
Did You Know?
Asbestos fibers are known to trigger a mutation in nearby cells, changing previously healthy cells into dangerous, cancerous cells known as mesothelioma. Over time, these mesothelioma cells grow and spread throughout the body.
Mesothelioma is extremely aggressive and challenging to treat. Mesothelioma can take decades to develop, slowly taking hold within the body, before symptoms present themselves.
By the time symptoms are noticeable, mesothelioma is often in its later stages, when it is exceptionally difficult to treat.
Although scientists are actively working on methods of detecting mesothelioma earlier, it remains a challenging disease to diagnose and treat. Unfortunately, most diagnosed mesothelioma patients have a life expectancy of less than one year.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Jury awards woman $13M for exposure to asbestos in talcum, Asbestos Removal, Los Angeles CA

A Los Angeles jury awarded $13 million to a 73-year-old woman who contracted a deadly disease from using asbestos-containing talcum powder manufactured by Colgate-Palmolive Co.
Jurors deliberated for two hours Tuesday before finding that New York-based Colgate was 95 percent responsible for Judith Winkel's mesothelioma, a fatal lung disease, according to her lawyers. The verdict included $1.4 million in damages for her husband.
Winkel's lawyers said she got the rare cancer from using Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder.
"This is an example of the legal system exposing what a company should have been honest about 50 years ago," attorney Chris Panatier said. "Judith Winkel only wanted a jury to hear the truth about this product and hopefully to help others who are similarly exposed."
While billions of dollars have been paid in verdicts and settlements to people sickened by exposure to asbestos, it's often in cases related to use of the mineral in construction materials or insulation. Tiny fibers of the carcinogen can be breathed in and lodge in the lungs, leading to fatal illnesses such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The Food and Drug Administration conducted a study more than five years ago that found no asbestos in cosmetics it tested containing talcum powder. However, the agency said there's been concern about asbestos contamination in talc since the 1970s. Some studies have shown a possible association between use of talc powders and ovarian cancer but have not conclusively linked the two, the agency said.
Jurors found the company negligent for the design, manufacture or sale of the product and found that it presented a substantial danger that they failed to warn consumers about.
Colgate, which sold Cashmere Bouquet in 1995, said it was disappointed with the verdict.
"We believe that the facts and evidence presented at trial showed that Cashmere Bouquet ... played no part in causing the plaintiff's illness," the company said in a statement.
Panatier said it was the first verdict against Colgate-Palmolive involving asbestos exposure from talcum powder.
An appeals court in New Jersey recently affirmed a $1.6 million verdict awarded to a man with mesothelioma who said he got the disease from cosmetic talc.
In Winkel's case, there will be no appeal. She and Colgate reached a confidential settlement Wednesday before the jury was set to hear evidence to determine punitive damages.

Friday, May 9, 2014

builders penalized $37,625 for asbestos violations

Town and Country Builders of Whitinsville and its owner, Denis Latour, were fined $37,625 by the state Department of Environmental Protection for failing to follow safe and legal asbestos removal procedures during a project in Uxbridge.

During a December 2012 inspection, DEP inspectors observed that Mr. Latour had improperly removed more than 100 linear feet of asbestos-containing pipe insulation from a multifamily residential property on Bouffard Street.

Numerous pieces of dry, friable asbestos-containing insulation were discovered uncontained on the basement floor of the property and also in an unmarked tarp lying outside in the yard. Also, inspectors found the asbestos insulation had not been wet, the work area had not been sealed off and air-filtration units were not used during the removal work as required, according to DEP.

DEP had also not been notified in advance of the asbestos removal project as required by state regulations.

Upon discovery, DEP required Mr. Latour to immediately retain the services of a state Department of Labor Standards-licensed asbestos contractor to properly handle, package and dispose of all the asbestos waste in the yard, and to clean up and decontaminate the basement and all affected areas of the property.

DEP regulations require notification to the agency in advance of an asbestos-removal project, as well as proper removal, handling, packaging, labeling, storage and disposal of asbestos waste materials. These critical measures prevent the release of and potential exposure to asbestos fibers, and warn of the health hazards associated with that type of waste material.

For these violations, DEP assessed a penalty of $37,625, but agreed to suspend $7,525 of that penalty provided the company does not have repeat violations for one year.

There are several types of asbestos fibers, all of which are lightweight

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Asbestos Landfill a Concern for Area Residents

LA Testing provides environmental and air testing services to ensure asbestos found in California does not cause health concerns for area residents.

A recent article highlighted the fact that once asbestos has been removed from a building the health concerns caused by the asbestos do not just go away.  A California family in Vacaville is concerned about their health because of asbestos that is being dumped in a nearby landfill.

The family purchased their home before the landfill was opened and according to the article have complained on several occasions to the landfill operators about unpleasant smells.  According to the homeowners these complaints have not been acknowledged which leads them to be even more concerned about the asbestos waste at the landfill.

The company that runs the landfill says the asbestos waste is specially packaged and inspected before being buried separately in an isolated area.  Asbestos from building materials and other waste is heavily regulated.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA), “When asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed by repair, remodeling or demolition activities, microscopic fibers become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause significant health problems.”  This fact has lead to stringent regulations for its removal and disposal.

LA Testing, an affiliate of EMSL Analytical and a leading provider of environmental testing services, has extensive experience providing asbestos testing solutions to ensure workers and residents are protected.  “Scientific studies have proven that breathing asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and respiratory diseases,” reported Ben Sublasky, National Director of Client Services for LA Testing and EMSL Analytical.   “The Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC) classifies asbestos-containing material as hazardous if it is friable and contains 1% or more of asbestos.  There are specific regulations regarding its disposal to help protect workers, residents and the environment.”

To learn more about asbestos, mold or other environmental testing services please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794.

About LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc.

LA Testing and EMSL Analytical are providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The companies have an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hazardous Waste Disposal

Nudging Recycling From Less Waste to None

Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
Sara Marshall peers into a drop-off point for recycling in Nantucket. The town is a leader in "zero waste." 

At Yellowstone National Park, the clear soda cups and white utensils are not your typical cafe-counter garbage. Made of plant-based plastics, they dissolve magically when heated for more than a few minutes.
At Ecco, a popular restaurant in Atlanta, waiters no longer scrape food scraps into the trash bin. Uneaten morsels are dumped into five-gallon pails and taken to a compost heap out back.
And at eight of its North American plants, Honda is recycling so diligently that the factories have gotten rid of their trash Dumpsters altogether.
Across the nation, an antigarbage strategy known as “zero waste” is moving from the fringes to the mainstream, taking hold in school cafeterias, national parks, restaurants, stadiums and corporations.
The movement is simple in concept if not always in execution: Produce less waste. Shun polystyrene foam containers or any other packaging that is not biodegradable. Recycle or compost whatever you can.
Though born of idealism, the zero-waste philosophy is now propelled by sobering realities, like the growing difficulty of securing permits for new landfills and an awareness that organic decay in landfills releases methane that helps warm the earth’s atmosphere.
“Nobody wants a landfill sited anywhere near them, including in rural areas,” said Jon D. Johnston, a materials management branch chief for the Environmental Protection Agency who is helping to lead the zero-waste movement in the Southeast. “We’ve come to this realization that landfill is valuable and we can’t bury things that don’t need to be buried.”
Americans are still the undisputed champions of trash, dumping 4.6 pounds per person per day, according to the E.P.A.’s most recent figures. More than half of that ends up in landfills or is incinerated.
But places like the island resort community of Nantucket offer a glimpse of the future. Running out of landfill space and worried about the cost of shipping trash 30 miles to the mainland, it moved to a strict trash policy more than a decade ago, said Jeffrey Willett, director of public works on the island.
The town, with the blessing of residents concerned about tax increases, mandates the recycling not only of commonly reprocessed items like aluminum, glass and paper but also of tires, batteries and household appliances.
Jim Lentowski, executive director of the nonprofit Nantucket Conservation Foundation and a year-round resident since 1971, said that sorting trash and delivering it to the local recycling and disposal complex had become a matter of course for most residents.
The complex also has a garagelike structure where residents can drop off books and clothing and other reusable items for others to take home.
The 100-car parking lot at the landfill is a lively meeting place for locals, Mr. Lentowski added. “Saturday morning during election season, politicians hang out there and hand out campaign buttons,” he said. “If you want to get a pulse on the community, that is a great spot to go.”
Mr. Willett said that while the amount of trash that island residents carted to the dump had remained steady, the proportion going into the landfill had plummeted to 8 percent.
By contrast, Massachusetts residents as a whole send an average of 66 percent of their trash to a landfill or incinerator. Although Mr. Willett has lectured about the Nantucket model around the country, most communities still lack the infrastructure to set a zero-waste target.
Aside from the difficulty of persuading residents and businesses to divide their trash, many towns and municipalities have been unwilling to make the significant capital investments in machines like composters that can process food and yard waste. Yet attitudes are shifting, and cities like San Francisco and Seattle are at the forefront of the changeover. Both of those cities have adopted plans for a shift to zero-waste practices and are collecting organic waste curbside in residential areas for composting.
Food waste, which the E.P.A. says accounts for about 13 percent of total trash nationally — and much more when recyclables are factored out of the total — is viewed as the next big frontier.
When apple cores, stale bread and last week’s leftovers go to landfills, they do not return the nutrients they pulled from the soil while growing. What is more, when sealed in landfills without oxygen, organic materials release methane, a potent heat-trapping gas, as they decompose. If composted, however, the food can be broken down and returned to the earth as a nonchemical fertilizer with no methane by-product.
Green Foodservice Alliance, a division of the Georgia Restaurant Association, has been adding restaurants throughout Atlanta and its suburbs to its so-called zero-waste zones. And companies are springing up to meet the growth in demand from restaurants for recycling and compost haulers.
Steve Simon, a partner in Fifth Group, a company that owns Ecco and four other restaurants in the Atlanta area, said that the hardest part of participating in the alliance’s zero-waste-zone program was not training his staff but finding reliable haulers.
“There are now two in town, and neither is a year old, so it is a very tentative situation,” Mr. Simon said.
Still, he said he had little doubt that the hauling sector would grow and that all five of the restaurants would eventually be waste-free.
Packaging is also quickly evolving as part of the zero-waste movement. Bioplastics like the forks at Yellowstone, made from plant materials like cornstarch that mimic plastic, are used to manufacture a growing number of items that are compostable.
Steve Mojo, executive director of the Biodegradable Products Institute, a nonprofit organization that certifies such products, said that the number of companies making compostable products for food service providers had doubled since 2006 and that many had moved on to items like shopping bags and food packaging.
The transition to zero waste, however, has its pitfalls.
Josephine Miller, an environmental official for the city of Santa Monica, Calif., which bans the use of polystyrene foam containers, said that some citizens had unwittingly put the plant-based alternatives into cans for recycling, where they had melted and had gummed up the works. Yellowstone and some institutions have asked manufacturers to mark some biodegradable items with a brown or green stripe.
Yet even with these clearer design cues, customers will have to be taught to think about the destination of every throwaway if the zero-waste philosophy is to prevail, environmental officials say.
“Technology exists, but a lot of education still needs to be done,” said Mr. Johnston of the E.P.A.
He expects private companies and businesses to move faster than private citizens because momentum can be driven by one person at the top.
“It will take a lot longer to get average Americans to compost,” Mr. Johnston said. “Reaching down to my household and yours is the greatest challenge.”

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Asbestos risk to children 'greater over lifetime'

Asbestos awareness leaflets  
Asbestos was commonly used in buildings for decades
A committee that advises the government on cancer has said children are more vulnerable to asbestos than adults over their lifetime.
It says a five-year-old is five times more likely than an adult of 30 to develop mesothelioma, a type of cancer linked to asbestos, if they are exposed to it at the same time.
This is because a child will normally live longer and have more time for the disease to develop, it says.
Most schools have asbestos.
Campaigners are calling for the material to be removed from all of England's schools.
The government says there is no evidence that children's lungs are more susceptible to mesothelioma, only that the risk to them is greater because of their life-expectancy and the time it can take for the disease to develop.
And it says that the accepted advice remains that it is safer to leave asbestos in place unless it is damaged or disturbed.
The Committee on Carcinogenicity, an independent committee that advises the government on cancer, was asked by the Department for Education to look at the relative vulnerability of children to asbestos compared with adults.
In its final report, published today after a two-year study, it says: "Because of differences in life expectancy, for a given dose of asbestos the lifetime risk of developing mesothelioma is predicted to be about 3.5 times greater for a child first exposed at age five, compared to an adult first exposed at age 25 and about five times greater when compared to an adult first exposed at age 30."
But the picture is complicated, with the experts saying there is a "number of uncertainties and data gaps".
The report continues: "From the available data, it is not possible to say that children are intrinsically more susceptible to asbestos-related injury. However, it is well recognised... that, due to the increased life expectancy of children compared to adults, there is an increased lifetime risk of mesothelioma as a result of the long latency period of the disease."
The experts say that although there is good evidence that childhood exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma in later life, data is too limited to say whether children are more intrinsically susceptible to the disease.
About three-quarters of England's 24,000 schools are estimated to have some buildings with asbestos, the study says.
Asbestos is a building material commonly used in the UK from the 1950s to the 1980s, often in fireproofing and insulation.
It becomes dangerous when disturbed or damaged because fibres can break off and get in to the air, where they can be breathed in.


The committee defines it as: the name given to a group of six different fibrous minerals that occur naturally in the environment
Its fibres can damage the lungs and cause diseases.
The government says the Health and Safety Executive advice is that if asbestos is not disturbed or damaged, then it is safer to leave it in place and monitor it carefully.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: "We welcome the Committee on Carcinogenicity's report on the effect exposure to asbestos can have on children, and have committed to consider the findings when reviewing our policy on asbestos management.
"Schools already must comply with the strict legal duties on asbestos. We have also published guidance on the issue and work closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to ensure asbestos is managed properly in all schools."
Campaigners want the government to pledge to remove asbestos from all of England's schools over time.
Michael Lees, the founder of Asbestos in Schools, said: "We want them to look at their policy which says it is safer to leave it than move it and we want them to have an audit to see how much fibre is there.
"They have committed to removing asbestos in schools in Australia but people need this done here."
The Department for Education said it was working hard with the HSE to make sure asbestos is managed properly in schools and that schools have to comply with "strict legal duties on asbestos".

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Safely disposing of asbestos waste

How to Dispose of Asbestos Waste thumbnail
Asbestos can pose a threat to your health.
Asbestos, which is used in everything from furnace ducts to floor tiles, can break down into fibers that are 1,200 times smaller than a human hair and cause health problems when inhaled. Because of this, safe and proper disposal is essential to ensure that friable (solid material that has been broken down) asbestos does not pose a health hazard. If you're in the middle of a do-it-yourself project at home and suspect that you have materials containing asbestos, you can consult a professional or learn how to handle it yourself. Have a question? Get an answer from a Medical Professional now!


    • 1
      Identify the materials. Asbestos shows up primarily in materials manufactured before 1986. The best time to determine if asbestos is present is before you start working. If you already have debris to be disposed of and you think it may contain asbestos, have a professional gather and test it in an Environmental Protection Agency-approved laboratory. Trying to break down products yourself may release fibers into the air. It may be necessary to apply a sealant that attaches to the fibers so they can't be dispersed or to wrap the materials before they are removed.
    • 2
      Buy the right protective gear. Start by getting a high-efficiency particulate air respirator (HEPA, dual cartridge), and look for filters that are coded purple. Regular painter's masks or respirators won't be enough to keep out fibers. Next, you'll need several pairs of disposable coveralls and asbestos gloves. Every time a worker leaves the work area he or she must remove the old work wear (except the HEPA), dispose of it in a resealable asbestos bag and change into new work wear. You can find detailed guidelines for work wear at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website (see Resources below).
    • 3
      Put materials in the proper containers. Depending on the amount of asbestos, you can use plastic bags (at least two) with resealing fasteners that are then sealed again by duct tape or 55-gallon drums designed for safe storage of asbestos. It's important that asbestos be packaged for disposal wet to reduce the amount of friable fibers that become airborne. All containers have to be labeled with the homeowner's or building owner's name and address.
    • 4
      Contact the landfill. The safest way to dispose of asbestos is by burying it, so make sure there is a landfill available before you start working. Once you have completed the job, notify the landfill no less than 24 hours before you plan to drop off the materials. If your materials weigh in over the state-regulated limit, you have to fill out a Waste Shipment Record (WSR) and submit it to the landfill. Once they have determined the actual amount matches the WSR, they can take your materials. A copy of the form should be returned to you within 35 days of the delivery.

Read more: How to Dispose of Asbestos Waste | eHow

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles