While most people have heard of asbestos, many people don’t know exactly what it is and how it can affect you. Asbestos is a catch all name that refers to a variety of naturally occurring mineral silicates, and is often found in old building materials and insulation systems. When asbestos sends fibers into the air and they are inhaled by people in the area, it can cause hazardous lung diseases including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis-but oftentimes symptoms don’t manifest themselves for a decade. While that may sound like a plot line of a sci-fi movie, asbestosis is no joke, and can harm cause a serious harm to you and your family.

To ensure your home or building is safe and to avoid these negative health consequences, it’s important, and required by law, to test for asbestos both when demolishing and remodeling a property. At Hawk Environmental, our qualified AHERA inspectors will help you navigate this process and ensure your home or workplace is safe moving forward. If you’ll need an asbestos test or survey in the near future, here are a few things to know to help navigate this process.

Some terms to know:

  • AHERA: AHERA refers to the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act that required the EPA to better regulate asbestos containing building material and reduce the harmful effects of asbestos pollution.
  • Good Faith Asbestos Site Survey: The survey performed by a certified AHERA building inspector required by law before demolishing a building.
  • Friable: If a material as categorizes as “friable asbestos containing material” also referred to as “friable ACM” or simply “friable” it contains more than one percent asbestos. Friable materials can easily be crumbled or reduced to powder by crumbling them in your hands.
  • Non Friable: Non friable ACM contains more than one percent asbestos but cannot be crushed with your hands.
  • Chrysotile asbestos: There are six different types of asbestos, by Chrysotile is the most common. It is often found in roofs, floors, car brake linings, and pipe insulation.
  • Homogenous Sampling area: Areas of suspected asbestos containing building materials which appear similar throughout in color, texture, and date of material application.
  • Thermal System Insulation: Material applied to pipes, and other interior structural components to prevent heat loss or gain, or water condensation, or for other purposes.
  • Surfacing Material: Material that is sprayed-on, troweled-on, or otherwise applied to surfaces, such as acoustical plaster on ceilings and fireproofing materials on structural members, or other materials on surfaces for acoustical, fireproofing, or other purposes.
  • Miscellaneous Material: Interior building material on structural components, structural members or fixtures, such as floor and ceiling tiles, and does not include thermal system insulation or surfacing materials.

Asbestos Survey for Demolition

An AHERA Asbestos Survey for Demolition is required by law before demolishing a building, to prevent asbestos containing materials from causing pollution. The testing process includes testing drywall units, vinyl, tile, and other materials throughout your house. Your report will detail the sample number, the material from which it was taken from,  where in the building it was taken from, the size of the space tested, and whether or not the material was friable.

Asbestos Testing for Remodel

If you are planning remodeling in your home, asbestos testing may also be necessary. Testing should be done if the area you are planning to renovate was not built entirely with  wood, metal, or glass. Some common construction materials that require testing include vinyl flooring, floor tiles, roofing materials, siding materials, glues, popcorn ceilings, ceiling tiles, drywall or plaster walls and many other building components. This type of testing does not typically require a full good faith asbestos site survey. Instead, they only sample materials that will be disturbed or impacted by renovations.

Once samples are taken, how are they analyzed?

At Hawk Environmental, we overnight all of our samples to an NVLAP accredited lab that will test and report according to established EPA guidelines. They will send us a report of the samples, which we will then package for you, and break down by area, material, friability, and asbestos content.

To learn more about asbestos testing for remodel and survey for demolition, or to schedule a certificated Hawk Environmental inspector at your home or workplace, visit our website today!