Asbestos is a group of fibrous minerals that were mined and widely used in a variety of products, especially before the mid-1980s. Because asbestos is heat and fire resistant, it was used in many types of building materials and home products for years.
Some examples of products include attic and wall insulation, roofing shingles, hot water pipes coated with asbestos, heat-resistant fabrics, linoleum, dry wall, dry wall mud/texture, popcorn ceiling texture etc.
Asbestos material in their “normal installed state” are ok, but when the materials are disturbed, asbestos fibers can be released and go airborne.
If building materials which contain asbestos fiber have been disturbed, it is likely they are airborne. Once airborne, you can breathe them in where they can get lodged in your lungs. Breathing in asbestos can cause lung damage, mesothelioma, and cancer.
X factor: The X factor is the human body. There is no specific exposure length or level that can be used as a baseline for everyone. Every person’s body responds to asbestos, like any other substance, uniquely. Therefore, while exposure to asbestos can cause any number of symptoms, it is best to consult your physician if you suspect you have been exposed.
There are two basic types of testing performed. The first is ‘bulk sampling’ where samples of building materials are taken and sent to a certified lab for analysis.
Second, if asbestos was found and was removed, a ‘clearance test’ is performed to ensure there are not residual asbestos fibers in the air.
Both ‘bulk sampling’ and ‘clearance tests’ should be performed by a state certified company/technician.
Asbestos testing and removal are regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Regulation 8.
Just as the local utility company advises property owners to “Call before you dig” to avoid digging into and damaging buried utility lines (gas, electric, cable, phone etc) The CDPHE Regulation 8 outlines the laws for both homeowners and contractors (restoration, abatement, construction, demolition or remodeling) with regard to testing, disturbing and/or removing materials that may contain asbestos.
Individuals failing to work according to the CDPHE regulations face legal action which may include severe fines.
*Never hire a contractor (restoration, abatement, construction, demolition or remodeling) who says it is permissible to remove building materials that have not been tested by a CDPHE certified company/technician.
*If asbestos is found in your property, hire a professional, state certified asbestos abatement contractor for removal.
After asbestos has been properly removed, and a clearance test performed, you may proceed with your remodeling contractor of choice to finish putting your property back to normal.