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Below are some Asbestos FAQs (frequently asked questions). If you don’t find what you are looking for here, please give us a call at 1-800-673-7830.

Do I have to have asbestos removed?

Not always. Often the best option for asbestos in GOOD CONDITION is to leave it alone! If the Asbestos is in good condition and will not be disturbed, it can remain in place. Lenders or Buyers of a property, however, may insist on certified removal of the asbestos. Asbestos MUST BE abated before renovations or demolition. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission provides a safety guide addressing asbestos issues affecting homeowners.

Can I remove it myself? Asbestos regulations and removal?

Inhaling asbestos fibers is linked to mesothelioma (a lung cancer) and asbestosis (lung scarring). Both conditions are life threatening. Keep that in mind before you consider touching, disturbing or removing it.  In certain circumstances, homeowners can remove very limited quantities of certain forms of Asbestosmaterials. However, there are MANY regulations and restrictions. Call us before attempting this on your own. We strongly recommend using a licensed, Asbestos abatement contractor. Please read the cautions listed on the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. The CDC states: “When handled, asbestos can separate into microscopic-size particles that remain in the air and are easily inhaled. Persons occupationally exposed to asbestos have developed several types of life-threatening diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Although the use of asbestos and asbestos products has dramatically decreased in recent years, they are still found in many residential and commercial settings and continue to pose a health risk to workers and others.”

Does my boiler/ HVAC system have asbestos on it?

Asbestos use was essentially banned in December 2003. However, many heating systems and furnaces installed before the ban were insulted with asbestos on pipes and furnaces.  Older furnaces often still have an outer asbestos cover called an asbestos jacket. It is typically found under the metal sheeting shell and looks like packed-on mud or a thick cardboard layer. Most plumbers and heating contractors are not equipped or certified to remove this asbestos jacket.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a commercial name for naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in home, industrial and manufacturing sites and in many common products including insulation, sound absorption materials, ceiling tile, floor tile or sheeting, and exterior weather proofing products. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Asbestos is “a variety of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals. These minerals have been used for decades in thousands of commercial products, such as insulation and fireproofing materials, automotive brakes and textile products, and cement and wallboard materials.”

What does asbestos look like?

Asbestos can take many forms and is found in many different materials. It can be found on or in any building material manufactured before December of 1981. Asbestos is commonly found in insulation, exterior siding, around boilers, in sound proofing systems, in floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and even in floor adhesives and roofing.

Why is asbestos a concern?

When inhaled, Asbestos can cause lung disease and lung cancer.

What do I do if I suspect I have asbestos? How do I know if I have asbestos?

Any insulation material manufactured before December 1981 should be suspect but other building products such as floor tile, ceiling tile, and sound proofing systems also contain Asbestos. The most important precaution: Do not disturb, move, or demolish ANY material you may suspect contains Asbestos. Because it is so hard to visually determine if a material is Asbestos containing, it is best to have the material tested.

Can I encapsulate Asbestos?

Yes, encapsulation is an option in some circumstances. However, often it is not practical to do so. Encapsulation is labor intensive and costs about as much as removal. Additionally with encapsulation the “problem” of the asbestos remains. When asbestos becomes an issue in a real estate transaction, EMG almost always recommends its removal by a licensed contractor.

What professional credentials do I look for?

For lab analysis look for companies that only use American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) andNational Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) certified-laboratory results. Professional asbestos abatement must be performed by a licensed contractor. In the Philadelphia area, look for licensing by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (PaDLI) and the City of Philadelphia.

Have a specific question? Call Kurt Spiess at 1-800-673-7830