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In the State of Florida, asbestos or suspected asbestos must be handled carefully.  Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OSHA have very strict rules about asbestos abatement, and any General Contractor and/or property owner who removes asbestos-containing material without following the rules can incur heavy penalties.  Here are a few things you should know about asbestos.

Asbestos

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural material containing microscopic fibers.  It is actually a mineral.  Although its particles are tiny, they are extremely durable and fire resistant, which is why it was used for many years in building materials, especially insulation.  Because of its durability, it is not susceptible to the same chemical breakdown as some other kinds of insulation.

Although asbestos is not used as frequently nowadays, it can still be found in older homes and commercial buildings, especially those built between the 1930’s and 1970’s.  It can be found in ceiling tiles, around old pipes, in old floor tiles, roof shingles and flashing, siding, and around boilers, ducts, sheeting and fireplaces.  It can also be found in pipe cement and joint compound used on seams between pieces of sheetrock.

Friable Asbestos

The most dangerous form of asbestos is the “friable” form, which means it is dry and crumbly and thus easily airborne.  When an asbestos abatement company takes samples, they are tested to see whether they are friable or not.  If they come up “hot,” meaning they are friable, then the asbestos must be removed by a professional abatement company.

Health Hazards

Because asbestos fibers are so tiny, they can easily become airborne and inhaled.  Because of their shape (fibers can be either straight as a needle or long and curly), they tend to latch on to lung tissue and other areas of the respiratory system.  After a while, these fibers can cause inflammation, leading to a number of serious conditions including lung cancer.  The number one cause of occupational cancer in the United States is asbestos.

Summary

At Dynamite Demolition, we take great care when it comes to the handling of asbestos.

On all commercial projects, we will ask to see the asbestos survey posted on the wall before we do any demo, so our crew knows if any materials came up hot.  If there was no survey done, we will be happy to take care of that for our clients before starting demolition.

On residential projects, asbestos surveys are not required, but we still train all our employees on how to recognize and handle asbestos.  This is for the safety of both our employees and our clients.  Asbestos that is left alone is generally considered safe, but when it becomes agitated or broken, fibers can become airborne and pose a danger to human health.  Safety is one of our top priorities when it comes to demolition.

 

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