Asbestos in Apartments: Essential Guidelines for Property Owners
Asbestos is present everywhere, from offices and schools to apartments. If you own an apartment that was constructed before the late ‘80s, you may need to develop an asbestos management plan.
Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of asbestos in some industries in the late ‘80s, many apartments still have traces of the toxic material.
Asbestos – Explained
Asbestos refers to six fine, lightweight minerals, including chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite.
It’s made of tiny fibers that are resistant to fire, heat, erosion and chemicals. Moreover, it does not evaporate or dissolve in water. Therefore, asbestos was the primary material used in residential and commercial projects, including apartments.
Taking into account these benefits, why has the use of asbestos been discontinued? Several studies indicate the adverse effects of asbestos on our health. Excessive exposure to asbestos-containing items can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and similar breathing and respiratory issues.
The fact that asbestos can’t be detected by the naked eye is deeply concerning. When an asbestos material is moved, its fibers are released in the air and can contaminate environment. The fibers then enter the human body through breathing.
Developing Asbestos Action Plan
If you suspect asbestos-containing materials in your apartment, follow these essential steps:
- Do not try to remove the items yourself. You will end up releasing its fibers everywhere.
- Inspect your apartment to determine asbestos-containing materials in the building. It’s a good idea to hire a professional testing company for this purpose. They have the equipment needed to perform accurate inspection and testing.
- Once asbestos is found in the building, employ a certified, licensed asbestos removal company. They will develop an appropriate action plan to remove asbestos from the building.
- Work with the asbestos removal company to establish an asbestos monitoring and control plan.
- Appoint someone to monitor and update the asbestos control plan. Also, make sure they perform inspection of asbestos-containing materials every 3 years.
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