Asbestos - What is it?

Asbestos is a generic term for a group of minerals known for their strength, flame and heat resistance, and seemingly indestructible qualities. Asbestos can be found in many things, including pipe insulation. Asbestos was used in boiler and pipe insulation, plasters, floor tile, electrical insulation, and as a fireproofing material on structural members in buildings. Once considered a “miracle mineral,” asbestos was used for many years in building construction. It can be found in many forms and places. It has also been sprayed on ceilings and walls as acoustic insulation.

Asbestos Exposure:

Because of its indestructible qualities, asbestos is harmful to the human body. The body cannot digest, break down, or change asbestos; it can only attempt to surround it with scar tissue. Asbestos occurs naturally as a fiber; individual fibers are so small they are invisible to the naked eye. Most asbestos is not hazardous in its original, undisturbed state; only when it is disturbed does it release asbestos fibers.

Several types of asbestos were banned by the EPA in the mid-70’s due to concern over the health effects (especially cancer) associated with exposure to such materials. Asbestos generally has been found to be hazardous to humans only when it is inhaled into the lungs.

Symptoms of asbestos-related diseases do not occur soon after exposure. Those who are sick today because of asbestos may have been exposed 20 to 40 years ago. Controlling exposures now will prevent disease and suffering decades later.

Sample List of Suspect Asbestos-Containing Materials:

* Cement Pipes
* Asphalt Floor Tile
* Ceiling Tiles
* Fire Doors
* Fire Curtains
* Boiler Insulation
* Cement Wallboard
* Vinyl Floor Tile
* Blown-in Insulation
* Laboratory Hoods/Table Tops
* Elevator Brake Dust
* Breaching Insulation
* Cement Siding
* Vinyl Sheet Flooring
* Fireproofing Materials
* Wallboard
* HVAC Insulation
* Cooling Towers
* Flooring Backing
* Chalkboards
* Roofing Felt
* Taping Compounds
* High Temp. Gaskets
* Adhesives
* Fire Blankets
* Vinyl Wall Coverings
* Pipe Insulation
* Construction Mastics
* Heating and Electrical Ducts
* Acoustical Plaster
* Decorative Plaster
* Electrical Cloth
* Roofing Shingles
* Base Flashing
* Thermal Paper Products
* Caulking/Putties
* Laboratory Gloves
* Joint Compounds
* Spackling Compounds

Asbestos Abatement Procedures:

Proper equipment must be used when handling asbestos.Asbestos abatement is done inside enclosures to prevent the fibers from spreading. Air handling units serving the affected area are turned off until the work is completed. Workers wear respirators and disposable coveralls to protect themselves while working. To prevent any attached fibers from getting into the surrounding air, the coveralls are disposed of when the worker exits the enclosure.

When a job has been completed, samples of the surrounding air are analyzed under a phase-contrast microscope. Based upon the results, the area is either cleared or re-cleaned and re-sampled. If the area is declared "clear", it is opened to normal occupancy and all warning signs are removed.

Links to Additional Information:

* Asbestos Facts
* The Asbestos Institute
* Environmental Protection Agency



Lead-Based Paint - What is it?

Special precautions should be used when removing lead-based paints.

Lead-based paints have disappeared from consumer sales for residential use because of toxicity concerns. However, there are huge quantities of lead-based paint on the surfaces of homes built before 1978. Paint containing lead may still be encountered for certain industrial painting requirements. Usually in cases where metal needs superior corrosion protection and may be subject to abuse a lead-based paint may be considered.

Lead-Based Paint Exposure :

Lead-based paints are dangerous when injested or inhaled. Lead-based paints become a problem when the paint or paint dust flakes and falls off in a living area. Houses with lead-based paint intact are not particular hazards as long as the presence of lead is known to the family and children are not permitted to scrape away the paint coatings. A greater danger can arise should the old paint have to be removed during remodeling and surface preparation for new painting. Dust and debris from lead-based paint is a hazardous waste.

Lead is a poison in any form. It is one of the "heavy metals" and, if a waste, must always be managed as a hazardous waste. Contamination of as little as 5-parts-per-million makes a waste "hazardous for lead" according to government definitions.

Lead-Based Paint Removal:

At KLA Roofing and Construction, LLC Abatement, we pride ourselves on being leaders in the industry, but also on saftey. Lead-based paint is treated as a hazardous material and should be disposed of as such. Normal paint removal methods such as sanding and scraping are not to be considered when dealing with lead-based paint. Paint dust and flakes that are disturbed into the air can lead to serious health risks.

Lead-based paint is common on all surfaces constructed prior to 1978. The assumption should always be made that all interior and exterior paint cointains lead. Exceptions to this statement are surfaces painted after 1978, surfaces completely remodeled since 1978, or surfaces where the first paint was applied after 1978. 1978 was the year that lead was removed from paint used for typical building surfaces.

There are several options that a qualified contractor has to choose from when removing lead-based paint from a building or other surface:

* Remove lead-containing components and replace with new
* Remove components and strip paint at a remote location
* Encapsulate with an approved sealant
* Remove lead-based paint in place through chemical or mechanical methods

It is very important to remember that lead-based paint removal should only be attempted by certified contractors. Lead-based paint residue should be disposed of as a hazardous material. Improper abatement practices can lead to toxic levels of lead being released into the air. Air-borne lead levels must be monitored throughout the removal process to prevent the possibility of lead poisoning.

Proper personal protective equipment must be worn to protect the workers while any abatement may be done, including goggles, coveralls, gloves, and a HEPA cartridge respirator. If paint is stripped, paint residue must be disposed of as a hazardous waste. If using mechanical methods, workers need to be trained in lead hazards in accordance with OSHA guidelines.

Links to Additional Information:

* General Consumer Lead Cautions
* Information about Lead Poisoning
* What you should know about lead based paints




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