Common questions about asbestos removal

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral that comes from the earth. Asbestos is the Greek word for miracle mineral. It was considered a miracle mineral because it will not burn or freeze and has a tensile strength stronger than steel.

Could there be asbestos in my home or office?

Asbestos is commonly found in structures constructed before the early 1980s. Asbestos is often found in insulation, flooring, ceiling tiles, plaster, ductwork, roofing shingles, adhesives, and many other materials. The materials are not dangerous if they are in good condition and undisturbed. However, damaging or improperly removing asbestos can release asbestos into the air where it can be inhaled.

Why is asbestos exposure dangerous?

Some people exposed to asbestos develop health issues ranging from scarring of the lining of the lungs to lung cancer to mesothelioma to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Often, the health issues aren’t apparent until years after the exposure.

Asbestos fibers are so small, lungs cannot expel them out of the body. As a defense, a person’s body produces mucus to bind affected cells to the wall of the lungs. The more asbestos fibers a person inhales, the more mucus and scar tissue the body produces, and the greater the risk for serious health complications.

How do I know if I have asbestos in my home or office?

Asbestos can only be identified through a sample analyzed by a certified laboratory. If you suspect that you have asbestos in your home or office that may present a health hazard, call Alliance Environmental Services. Do not obtain samples yourself.

How can I protect myself from asbestos in my home or office?

Do not cut, sand, break, or pulverize materials containing asbestos as this will release fibers into the air. If the asbestos containing material is intact and in good condition, it is safest to leave it in place. You may cover it with a protective coating or paint. If you have asbestos in your linoleum, you can simply place another sheet of linoleum over it.

Can I remove asbestos containing materials myself?

Asbestos is a form of toxic material, and mishandling materials containing asbestos could result in tragic consequences not just for the person removing it, but for others in the vicinity that may breathe the airborne fibers. Removal by a licensed professional is not nearly as costly as treating asbestos-related diseases. Also, you are liable for the exposure of others should you attempt to remove asbestos yourself.

Asbestos removal is complex and should only be done by a licensed Asbestos Abatement professional. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) has stringent regulations on how to handle asbestos abatement. The OSHA regulations include requirements for protective clothing and equipment, enclosure or isolation of dust, monitoring of exposure, proper waste containment, medical surveillance, and many others.

What should I do if I need to have asbestos containing material removed.

Contact Alliance Environmental Services, Inc. at (530) 345-8562 for information about what treatment options are available.

Removing materials containing asbestos can be dangerous to your health. Before beginning demolition or renovation, contact Alliance Environmental Services, Inc.  to determine whether asbestos is present and whether special precautions are needed. For more information about asbestos, call (530) 345-8562.

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