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Published on Oct 30, 2014
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that that was used in many building materials in the past. Today, many people think its use is banned, but that is not exactly the case. In 1989, the EPA issued a final rule banning most asbestos-containing products in the United States. However; in 1991, the rule was vacated and remanded by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, most of the original ban on the manufacture, importation, processing or distribution in commerce for most of the asbestos-containing product categories originally covered in the 1989 final rule was overturned.
Asbestos is most likely to be found in homes and buildings constructed between approximately the 1930s through the 1970s. It was used in everything from roofing and siding to insulation, flooring and textured paints and painting compounds. In fact, some reports indicate it was used in over 3000 materials by the 1970s.
People can be exposed to asbestos fibers through inhalation or ingestion from asbestos-containing materials that have become friable or are disturbed during renovation, remodeling and demolition activities. Exposure can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer in some people.
The only way to be sure whether a material contains asbestos is to have it tested by a qualified laboratory. There are asbestos inspectors that can be hired to inspect a home or building, assess conditions, take samples of suspected materials for testing, and advise about what corrections are needed. If repair or removal of asbestos materials is chosen, inspectors can ensure the corrective-action contractor has followed proper procedures, including proper clean up, and can monitor the air for asbestos fibers.
The EPA states that “Federal law does not require persons who inspect, repair or remove asbestos-containing materials in detached single-family homes to be trained and accredited; however, some states and localities do require this. For safety, homeowners should ensure that workers they hire to handle asbestos are trained and accredited.” The agency also reports that to avoid a conflict of interest, an asbestos professional hired to assess the need for asbestos repair or removal should not be connected with an asbestos firm that does the actual repair or removal of materials. It is better to use two different firms so there is no conflict of interest.
These are just a few things to consider before hiring an asbestos inspector. To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, environmental, health and safety issues, please visits the websites shown in the video.