How Can I Identify if Asbestos Is in My Building?

The presence of asbestos can be concerning to homeowners, apartment dwellers, and business owners, as well as to their visitors. Though asbestos was banned by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 1989, its dangers are not fully understood by many Americans. As a result, any building that was constructed prior to the 1990s may include one or more areas that have asbestos within them, such as floor tiles or insulation. 

Although new construction materials are forbidden to contain asbestos, legacy materials are not required to be removed, thus there is a great quantity of it still present across the country. In fact, it’s unusual for buildings constructed before the 1990s to not contain asbestos. The problem for many owners is, how does one detect where asbestos is present, and how can it be safely removed? These are questions and concerns that a professional asbestos removal contractor, like an asbestos removal contractor in Malibu, CA, can address, including an estimate of costs associated with each particular solution.

Assessing Your Building
Here are some tips for determining if asbestos may be a danger in your building if it was built before the 90s:

  • If the plumbing insulation material is broken, disintegrated, or otherwise disturbed, consult a professional asbestos removal contractor. Simply having asbestos in a building is not necessarily a danger. When the asbestos fibers are exposed and at risk for entering the air, however, it should be removed or mitigated without delay. For example, if plumbing insulation has cracked or torn, there may be risk of asbestos contamination.
  • If there are cracks, holes, or other damage to the floor or ceiling tiles, and if the walls or insulation in the attic is exposed, it should be tested for the presence of asbestos. This can be done by a certified asbestos removal contractor who will submit the sample for analysis to a recognized lab.
  • If renovation, demolition, or construction of a new addition is being considered, it may require the disturbance or removal of walls, ceilings, or floors that contain asbestos materials. Prior to engaging in the work, consult an asbestos removal contractor who can provide insight as to the potential danger level, and what can be done to eliminate the risk of exposure to workers and those who occupy the building.

Asbestos exposure, particularly when it is prolonged or consistent over time, can cause one or more fatal lung diseases. Having a clear understanding of whether or not asbestos is present, and learning from a trusted asbestos removal contractor one’s options for mitigating or eliminating the risk can bring peace of mind. This is important for homeowners as well as commercial building owners who wish to perform due diligence and reduce their liability risk. Though not all buildings constructed in the U.S. before the 90s necessarily include asbestos-laden materials, many do, but the dangers can often be avoided by using simple mitigation techniques suggested by an asbestos removal contractor.

Thanks to Nielsen Environmental for their insight into how to identify asbestos in your building.