Commercial property owners – as well as DIY property owners – often see checking for asbestos in homes and businesses as a costly and time-consuming problem that can be overlooked when remodeling or demolishing. In fact, this evasion can become costly in many ways.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aware of the trend and has stepped up on-site inspections, document reviews, and tip follow-ups. The EPA has found companies and individuals hiring day laborers to remove asbestos instead of the trained and certified licensed abatement contractors required by law. Contractors have been known to hire undocumented workers without training or under-train them to work with asbestos. Some contractors falsify training certificates.
Why should we spend time and money on tracking down these offenders?
Asbestos-laden materials were once in virtually every type of construction. Buildings over thirty years old almost certainly contain asbestos. If left undisturbed, the material is not a health hazard; but if it’s removed, the dust inhaled creates a dangerous situation.
Who is at risk?
• Unknowing remodeling/demolition workers
• Families of these workers
• Future inhabitants of the building or site
• Workers or neighbors at dump site
All the above are imperiled by a carcinogen that can take over 50 years before the deadly exposure reveals its damage. Cutting corners as a remodeling/demolition business or as a DIY homeowner may save money at the outset, but can lead to avoidable costs in human life. Asbestos-related diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, are not worth any amount of time or money saved. If there is the slightest doubt that materials contain asbestos, get abatement professionals to diagnose the situation before any work begins. It can save lives.