Asbestos, HAZMAT, my house, cancer?
Asbestos is an effective insulator and fire retardant, and it can be used in cloth, paper, cement, plastic and other materials to make them stronger. But when asbestos dust and particles are inhaled or ingested, mineral fibers can become permanently trapped in the body.
Over decades, trapped asbestos fibers can cause inflammation, scarring and eventually genetic damage. A rare and aggressive cancer called mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos also causes other forms of cancer as well as progressive lung disease.
Why is Asbestos hazardous?
Any renovation or rebuild on every house-made before 1978 is required to perform Asbestos testing and if test results prove positive, abatement procedures are necessary.
From 1928 to 1977, asbestos was found in just about all building materials. This also happens to be the period of time California was experiencing its fastest period of growth, which means a large number of structures are affected by this material. Breaking it apart means a risk of exposure to a material that aggressively attached itself to living tissue due to its physical structure.
Asbestos and California regulations
By California Law
By California law, construction contractors are prohibited from providing asbestos testing or abatement. In order to avoid conflict of interest and all clearance test, anyone with a proprietary interest in the site is also prohibited. This is why you need a reputable, licensed environmental company to perform these services. Testing is done by a third party company, the California asbestos laws have been put into place to protect you and ensure the environment is kept safe from toxic contaminants.
For all information on the California Health and Safety Code and the exact asbestos requirements for California structures, visit www.dir.ca.gov for insight into the laws and regulations.
Taking proper steps in identifying and safely removing the existing contamination in your property will ensure the health and safety of the workers at the job site and the occupants of the property in the long run.
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