What is Asbestos?
“Asbestos” is a commonly used word that describes groups of naturally occurring fibrous minerals known to cause cancer. Individual fibers are invisible to the naked eye, and positive identification is required through laboratory analysis. Asbestos has been mined for use in over 3,000 products, due to its versatility and wide ranging properties such as resistance to fire and heat, chemical corrosion, flexibility and high tensile strength. Asbestos is regulated by federal, state and at times local agencies. The regulated fibrous asbestos minerals fall into one of six mineral fiber types: chrysotile (serpentine), crocidolite (riebeckite), amosite (cummingtonite-grunerite), anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Each of these fiber types has a distinctive fiber shape (morphology) and crystal habit, or manner in which it forms.
Asbestos is naturally occurring and mined specifically for use in products. Information obtained from a document posted on the U.S.G.S. website for the eastern United States details a total of three hundred thirty-one (331) sites where naturally occurring asbestos of various amounts and types have been documented.Is asbestos still mined today?
Yes. According to the United States Geological Services website, asbestos use has been declining over the last ten years, but is still an active commodity. The U.S.G.S. tracks all minerals and has industry trends and statistics since 1994 on its website.
Many homes, particularly those built before 1990, contain some type of asbestos-containing material (ACM). Some of the products where asbestos was commonly used in the manufacturing process, or may still be manufactured with asbestos, can be found on a list at the EPA region 6 asbestos website.
Some examples of these products include the following:
- Floor Covering and Adhesives
- Exterior Siding
- Ceiling Tiles
- Pipe Insulation
- Floor Tiles
- Roof Flashing
- Plaster Walls
- Roof Shingles
- Wallboard joint compound
A “friable” asbestos containing material (ACM) can be easily crushed, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure (materials such as insulation, ceiling tiles, dried out caulking.) A “non-friable” ACM can not be crushed, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure (materials such as table tops, roofing and flexible flooring.) In general, the more friable the material is, the greater the potential for asbestos exposure. Just because there is ACM present does not necessarily mean that it is a health risk, but you must be careful so the materials are not accidentally disturbed.
What does it look like? How do I know if its asbestos?
You can’t tell if a product has asbestos by looking at it. Asbestos can only be verified by laboratory analysis. If you think that a product may contain asbestos and preparations are underway for remodeling or demolition, it is recommended to have your home or office inspected by an Asbestos specialist such as Abaolute Abatement to identify suspect ACM. If no activity is taking place in an area where ACM is identified, it is best to leave the material in place and avoid disturbing it.
Health risks commonly associated with exposure to asbestos include:
- Asbestosis – a condition in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue making breathing more and more difficult, often requiring the victim to use oxygen.
- Cancer – cancer of the lungs is the most common cancer associated with exposure. Other areas may become cancerous including the throat, gastrointestinal tract, and kidneys.
- Mesothelioma – a rare, often fatal cancer, usually occurring in the chest cavity.
Exposure to asbestos alone is not the single determining factor as to whether or not an individual will contract an asbestos-related illness or disease. The levels of asbestos in air that may result in lung disease depend on several factors. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR,) other factors which must be considered include: the dose (how much,) the duration (how long,) the fiber type (mineral form and size distribution,) and how you come in contact with it. You must also consider the other chemicals you’re exposed to and your age, sex, diet, family traits, lifestyle (including whether you smoke tobacco,) and state of health
If you feel like your home is affected by Asbestos, Absolute Abatement can help you. Please call us at (714) 985-1001 or fill out our Contact Form and we will arrange to asses your removal needs.
Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation.
When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.
It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.
Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing. This brochure provides a brief overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.
If you feel like your home is affected by Mold, Absolute Abatement can help you. Please call us at (714) 985-1001 or fill out our Contact Form and we will arrange to asses your removal needs.
Why Do You Need to Be Concerned About Lead?
Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead also can be emitted into the air from motor vehicles and industrial sources, and lead can enter drinking water from plumbing materials. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk.
Most Common Sources of Lead Poisoning:
- Deteriorating lead-based paint
- Lead contaminated dust
- Lead contaminated residential soil
Facts about lead
FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.
FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.
FACT: You can get lead in your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead.
FACT: You have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.
FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.
If you think your home might have lead hazards, read on to learn about lead and some simple steps to protect your family.
Health effects of lead
Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the United States.
- People can get lead in their body if they:
- Put their hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths.
- Eat paint chips or soil that contains lead.
- Breathe in lead dust, especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces.
- Lead is more dangerous to children because:
- Babies and young children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths. These objects can have lead dust on them.
- Children’s growing bodies absorb more lead.
- Children’s brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
- If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
- Damage to the brain and nervous system
- Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity
- Slowed growth
- Hearing problems
- Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:
- Reproductive problems (in both men and women)
- High blood pressure and hypertension
- Nerve disorders
- Memory and concentration problems
- Muscle and joint pain
Where lead is found
In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint.
- Paint. Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. Some states stopped its use even earlier. Lead can be found:
- In homes in the city, country, or suburbs.
- In apartments, single-family homes, and both private and public housing.
- Inside and outside of the house.
- In soil around a home. Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint, or other sources such as past use of leaded gas in cars, and children playing in yards can ingest or inhale lead dust.
- Household dust. Dust can pick up lead from deteriorating lead-based paint or from soil tracked into a home.
- Drinking water. Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call your local health department or water supplier to find out about testing your water. You cannot see, smell or taste lead, and boiling your water will not get rid of lead. If you think your plumbing might have lead in it:
- Use only cold water for drinking and cooking.
- Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water for a few hours.
- The job. If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. Shower and change clothes before coming home. Launder your work clothes separately from the rest of your family’s clothes.
- Old painted toys and furniture.
- Food and liquids stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain. Food can become contaminated because lead can leach in from these containers.
- Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air.
- Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery or stained glass, or refinishing furniture.
- Folk remedies that contain lead, such as “greta” and “azarcon” used to treat an upset stomach.
If you feel like your home is affected by Lead Absolute Abatement can help you. Please call us at (714) 985-1001 or fill out our Contact Form and we will arrange to asses your removal needs.