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What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that is mined directly from the earth. It is a strong, cheap, malleable, non-flammable substance that has been used widely in the building industry due to its affordability and desirable natural properties. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the damaging, carcinogenic properties of asbestos became widely known. Because of its known toxicity, asbestos is no longer as widely used in building, textiles, construction, or other industries in the U.S.

Why is Asbestos Removal Important?

Exposure can still occur when asbestos is present in a public or privately-owned building or work environment. Quality Environmental, Inc. is one of the top asbestos abatement companies, with the certified equipment, knowledge, and experience to protect your building, customers, or staff from the hazards of asbestos. Quality Environmental is one of the leading companies for asbestos removal Los Angeles has to offer.

What Are the Hazards of Asbestos Exposure?

When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed, asbestos fibers are released into the air. These fibers can be easily inhaled and trapped inside the lungs, or swallowed and embedded in the digestive tract.

Asbestos is a known carcinogen in humans. It can cause chronic lung disease, lung cancer, and other cancers. Cancer and disease can take many years to develop after exposure to asbestos. Serious health conditions associated with asbestos exposure include:

  • Mesothelioma A rare and aggressive from of lung cancer, the sole cause of which is exposure to asbestos.
  • Asbestosis A condition characterized by inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue that prevents the lungs from expanding and contracting normally.
  • COPD The risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increases with asbestos exposure.

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When Can Asbestos Exposure Occur?

The hazards of asbestos exposure can occur whenever asbestos-containing materials are disturbed. According to an OSHA Fact Sheet, this can happen in a variety of situations, including:

  • Manufacture of products containing asbestos
  • Performing clutch or brake repairs
  • Demolition or renovation of buildings or ships (or during cleanup)
  • Cleanup after natural disasters
  • Contact with deteriorating materials containing asbestos

Certain materials are presumed to contain asbestos if they were installed before 1981. Examples of these and other asbestos-containing materials include:

  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Thermal system insulation
  • Heat-resistant textiles
  • Automobile clutch pads and brake linings
  • Siding and roofing shingles
  • Ceiling tiles, transite pipes and spray-on coatings
  • Industrial pipe wrapping
  • Plaster, cement, putties, and caulk

OSHA Standards for Asbestos Exposure

Depending on the type of workplace, OSHA has three different standards to protect workers from asbestos exposure:

  • 29 CFR 1910.1001 covers general industry. This includes manufacturing of products that contain asbestos, brake and clutch repair, and maintenance work.
  • 29 CFR 1915.1001 applies to asbestos in shipyards. It covers construction, repair, maintenance, alteration, renovation, and demolition of asbestos-containing structures in shipyards.
  • 29 CFR 1926 1101 covers the construction industry. It provides protection for workers engaged in construction, demolition, repair, maintenance, alteration, or renovation of structures containing asbestos.

Requirements for Employers under OSHA Standards

Workplaces are required to adhere to OSHA safety standards. For structural areas that may contain asbestos, an assessment must be completed to determine if it is present, and if the activities pose a risk of generating airborne fibers. Employers must ensure that no one is exposed to asbestos beyond the permissible exposure limit (PEL), which is 0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air as an 8-hour time-weighted average. OSHA has also set an excursion limit (EL) of 1.0 asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter over a 30-minute period.

Additional OSHA requirements include:

  • Monitoring to detect if exposure goes above PEL or EL
  • Decommunication and demarcation of areas with higher levels
  • Decontamination areas with proper hygiene separate from lunch areas
  • Certification and training for workers
  • Medical surveillance
  • Recordkeeping

Asbestos Removal

It’s happened before, and it’s certain to happen again: one generation’s “bright idea” becomes the next generation’s problem. There’s no doubt that asbestos has properties that make it valuable for insulation, fire resistance and other uses.

Unfortunately, it was used in millions of homes and buildings before it became obvious that the health hazards it poses are unacceptable and regulators finally agreed that its use should be banned.

If you live in California, and you are in need of asbestos removal services, you need to understand the state’s regulations regarding asbestos. They are designed to protect you, your family and your employees.

Not a DIY Activity

From a legal perspective, California allows you to remove asbestos yourself if the area involved is less than 100 square feet. From a common-sense perspective, unless you happen to be a certified abatement contractor, it’s a bad idea.

The substance is just as dangerous no matter how much is involved, and if you don’t know what you are doing and don’t have the right tools or protective equipment, you could end up with a significant exposure. Moreover, you could unknowingly violate the guidelines for handling of any material that you remove.

Even if you suspect the presence of asbestos and only want to test for its presence, the smartest choice you can make is to contact a consultant or contractor that is certified to conduct asbestos testing.

Where Might Asbestos Be in Your Home?

Asbestos was used in home construction through the 1970s. In older homes, it may be present in materials including:

  • Floor tiles
  • Roofing
  • Insulation for stoves or pipes
  • Duct work or furnaces
  • Joint patching compounds for dry wall

What Kinds of Projects Could Release Asbestos?

Certain kinds of renovation or remodeling projects have the potential to release asbestos fibers. If you are contemplating such projects, you should contact certified expert to test for the presence of asbestos before you begin:

  • Cutting a ceiling section to add a porch, addition, etc.
  • Replacing plumbing pipes
  • Cutting through shingle siding
  • If asbestos is found to be present, you will need the services of a certified asbestos removal specialist to proceed with your project.

What Does the Law Require?

Chapter 8 of the California Code of Regulations provides complete guidelines regarding the handling and disposal of asbestos.

Employees and contractors working on projects larger than 100 sq. ft. are required to be certified and to be registered with the Asbestos Contractors’ Registration Organization.

Choosing Your Project Partner

The Contractor’s State License Board offers a guide for consumers regarding asbestos and asbestos removal. It offers guidelines for choosing a project partner, including:

  • Get bids from at least three licensed contractors who have the required certifications. These can be verified at www.cslb.ca.gov.
  • Make sure that the project is clearly defined and that the bid covers all the work that you are expecting to be done.
  • Ask for references.
  • Request a work plan.
  • Engage a certified consultant to oversee the work and provide clearance monitoring.
  • Verify that the contractor has general and asbestos-specific insurance and a current and valid license bond.

Quality Environmental

Quality Environmental, Inc. meets all California requirements for companies offering asbestos removal in Los Angeles projects. We are committed to providing the best customers service possible, a commitment that takes on extra meaning when hazardous materials are involved.

Contact us to find out more about our unique qualifications and experience in regard to this specialty, our industry know-how, state-of-the-art equipment and our many satisfied customers.

Asbestos Removal

Complete and Safe Removal of Asbestos

For many years, asbestos was widely used in building and industry because of its affordability, versatility, and properties such as sound absorption, tensile strength, and resistance to heat, fire, electrical, and chemical damage. Today, we know that buildings and materials containing asbestos can create serious health hazard when exposure to airborne particles occurs.

The presence of asbestos in a building or workplace presents the possibility of serious hazards for occupants or workers. It is important to act quickly to have this toxic substance completely removed for the protection of the people who enter your building or those you employ.

At Quality Environmental, Inc., we handle asbestos abatement in Los Angeles safely, professionally, and quickly. While the quality and safety of our service is our top priority, we take it one step further to implement safety protocols to help your organization avoid hazards in the future, and perform a professional asbestos abatement process.

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