Asbestos, The 411

In the Know

Asbestos became popular between 1900-1970. The large draw of asbestos was in sound absorption, strength, and its resistance to fire and heat. Asbestos manufacturing has been phased out, banned, or overly restricted since the 1990s.

Common Locations

Homes dating back before 1980 were built with products which may contain asbestos. These products include floor tile, ceiling tiles, roof shingles and flashing, exterior siding, and insulation (around boilers, pipes, and duct work).

In farm buildings it is in joint compound and caulking. With any remodel it may be best to test for asbestos.

Health Effects

The length of exposure to asbestos is the most concerning factor. When inhaled, asbestos’s glass like fibers scratch the interior of your lungs causing scarring and stiffening. One or two exposures yield no worry, but it is exposure from 10-40 years that leads to lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Testing and Abatement

Most general contractors will not get involved for liability reasons if asbestos is a potential threat. When you need testing and removal of asbestos, it may require more than 1 contractor. It is a must to see all records and documentations of the asbestos levels in your house.

Check to be sure any professional you hire meets any licensing requirements for your state or municipality.

Asbestos abatement (removal) has an extensive set up procedure. The first step in the removal is fully sealing off the room with multiple layers of plastic. Then workers have to walk through a wash off station upon entering and exiting the sealed area. Respirators are required. All materials are wetted down to control dust and particle movement.

Cost of abatement can vary depending on the scope of the work.

Questions? Contact Ronnie at Williams Engineering to ask your asbestos questions!

~ Jordan Crusing, Junior Technician

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