Who Needs Asbestos Testing and Why?
Six different types of naturally occurring minerals that fall into two main categories, White asbestos, and Amphibole asbestos, are referred to as Asbestos. These minerals are suitable for a variety of commercial applications because they are strong, resilient, and resistant to heat and corrosion, do not dissolve in water, and cannot be destroyed by microbes. Today, many of these products are still readily available and in use. Read and find out why asbestos testing is necessary, and who needs it.
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Who Needs Testing for Asbestos?
If you are planning to renovate or demolish a building, manufacturing facility, or industrial facility, it is possible that asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) may be present. If workers encounter any materials that are suspected to be ACM but have not been identified and confirmed, the renovation or demolition project may be delayed. By law, certain types of ACMs must be removed by a certified Asbestos Abatement Contractor before any renovation or demolition work can begin. This is to ensure the safety of the workers and the public.
Causing asbestos-containing materials to be disturbed with no permit and failing to follow established removal procedures are both criminal and civil offenses. For the project to be completed successfully, it is essential to conduct an accurate and thorough asbestos testing survey as a first step.
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Due to its added strength, stability, resistance to corrosion, improved heat and chemical resistance, and ability to provide acoustical insulation, asbestos has been used in a variety of building construction materials and automotive products. Between the 1950s and the late 1970s, it has been in use in a wide range of products, including:
- Joint compounds for drywall,
- Floor tiles,
- Thermal pipe insulation,
- Spray-on coatings,
- Acoustic insulation,
- Roofing shingles and flashings,
- Duct tape,
- Cement/concrete panels and pipes,
- Brake components,
- Gloves, and other heat-resistant clothing, etc.
Only the limits of human imagination and consumer needs could constrain its uses and applications. Because asbestos is a known human carcinogen, breathing or eating its fibers poses a serious health risk. Because individual asbestos fibers cannot be seen with the human eye, workers and those who are exposed are more at risk. Thus, asbestos testing is needed.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates asbestos exposure to the general public and the environment, while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates exposure to workers. For assessment, proper removal, and controlling exposure, numerous rules, regulations, guidelines, and procedures have been promulgated and published.
As previously mentioned, there may be both civil and criminal consequences for failing to follow the established policies and guidelines and practices for asbestos testing, removal, storage, transport, or disposal. Although exposure to asbestos fibers can result in a variety of both short- and long-term health issues, the main health risks can be divided into three groups:
- Asbestosis – Lung tissue that has been permanently scarred by asbestos.
- Damage to the lungs’ lining, which is referred to as pleural disease.
- Mesothelioma and lung tumors – The lungs are the target of both.
It would be a good idea to have asbestos testing for the sections of your home where you suspect there may be asbestos, and if the suspected asbestos is loose or disintegrating. You should at least identify the issue if your pipes are covered in fabric that crumbles when handled or if your attic is filled with old insulation. You do not need to worry too much if you are simply going about your everyday business on the same old floor tiles.
It is where renovation and demolition projects are involved that the actual problem surfaces. You must determine if asbestos will be released into the air before breaking, crushing, or tearing stable asbestos-containing materials. The laws and regulations governing asbestos and asbestos testing are the responsibility of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (Environmental Protection Division). When you apply for a work permit, the local building offices frequently demand proof of compliance.
There is no “safe” level of exposure to asbestos because it is a known carcinogen. After 20 to 40 years of exposure, asbestos exposure can have negative health effects. The largest tort liability in the U.S. has been caused by occupational diseases brought on by asbestos exposure. Throughout history, trust funds totaling more than $30 billion have been set up to assist asbestos exposure victims. Because of this, prevention in the form of asbestos testing is always preferable to treatment.