Asbestos Abatement and the History of Asbestos Use
It is common to discover asbestos in a wide variety of structures via several building materials. These materials include insulations, plaster, floor or ceiling tiles, adhesives, and many others. Any handling of asbestos must be done very carefully, as it’s toxic elements and classification as a known carcinogen make it dangerous for humans.
History of Asbestos Use
Before the 1980s, asbestos-containing materials (ACM) were commonly used in building projects for things such as insulation, flame retardant, and popcorn ceilings. The U.S. consumption of asbestos peaked in 1973 at 804,000 tons of the substance. By the late 1970s, a drastic decline began throughout industrialized nations in the use of asbestos. There became a widespread understanding of the connection between asbestos exposure and multiple debilitating lung diseases.
By 2003, 17 countries were led to full or at least partial bans on asbestos use. In 2005, asbestos was banned throughout the European Union. Incredibly, the material is still not banned completely in the United States.
Only seven categories of asbestos-containing materials are banned in the U.S. These include: spray-applied asbestos, flooring felt, commercial paper, specialty paper, rollboard, corrugated paper, and new uses of asbestos. These were used up until as recently as 1989, meaning that structures built prior to that likely contain some kind of ACM.
It Must Go!…Or Not?
Contrary to what many may think, the mere presence of asbestos materials does not necessarily mean that it poses a health risk. The materials are not dangerous if they are in good condition and undisturbed. The danger comes when the material is damaged, moved, or otherwise disturbed where the fibers are released into the surrounding air. These fibers are what cause the potential for diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma. For this reason, many choose to simply leave the material in spaces like homes if there is no immediate need for removal. However, structural demolition, remodeling, or other construction projects can seriously disturb asbestos and cause the fibers to flake off and become airborne.
What is Asbestos Abatement?
First, it should be known that homeowners or other non-professionals should NEVER attempt to remove or alter asbestos-containing materials (ACM) on their own. A licensed asbestos abatement professional should ALWAYS assess the area and take care of any removal or disturbance. This is where we come in.
The legal definition of asbestos abatement is used to refer to “procedures used to control fiber release from asbestos-containing materials in a building, or to remove them entirely, including removal, encapsulation, repair, enclosure, encasement, and operations and maintenance programs.” (IRMI Index)
Not only does Environmental Abatement, Inc. know how to remove or encapsulate ACMs, but we are also able to dispose of the materials safely and efficiently. After being in the business for almost 30 years, we are well-versed in asbestos removal in just about every type of asbestos.