If you’re a commercial property owner, you know the importance of keeping all your properties up to code, ensuring the safety of everyone who walks through the door of any of your buildings. Suspecting asbestos contamination warrants immediate action to prevent exposure to staff, tenants, or patrons.
Commercial asbestos removal is a job for a professional with expert knowledge and experience. The skills and tools it takes to handle asbestos products and materials while ensuring the safety of people and the environment are what make ACM the experts. Keep reading to learn the dangers of asbestos contamination, the types typically found in commercial properties, and the next steps for commercial asbestos removal.
The Dangers of Asbestos Contamination
Asbestos was a common building material heavily used before the 1990s. If your commercial property was built before asbestos was outlawed, it’s almost guaranteed to contain asbestos products and materials somewhere in its bones.
Exposure to asbestos products and materials can negatively impact the body. Exposure typically involves microscopic particles being broken down and released into the air. Inhaling asbestos particles can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other lung conditions.
When asbestos is breathed in, it gets into the lungs and causes severe scarring. These particles lodge into the body and continue to do damage for a prolonged period. Commercial property owners must educate themselves on the dangers of asbestos and act with urgency.
Types of Asbestos Found in Commercial Properties
The term “asbestos” is used commercially and legally to encompass a variety of minerals. Six unique materials have been categorized by the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) as asbestos. Exposure to any of these minerals still poses the same health risk.
Chrysotile is the most commonly used of the six asbestos minerals. Regarding businesses, it can be found in roofs, walls, floors, and ceilings of commercial properties. It can also be found in other manufactured products unrelated to buildings or homes.
This form of asbestos has a blue coloring and was commonly used for steam engine insulation. However, there are building materials that also contain Crocidolite. Commercial properties could have blue asbestos in pipe insulation, cement, and spray-on coatings.
Amosite can be found in several commercial building materials. The mineral has most frequently been used in pipe insulation and cement sheets but can also be found in ceiling tiles, insulting boards, and thermal insulation products.
Anthophyllite is one of two minerals on this list that isn’t as commonly found in commercial building materials but can still be found in commercial properties in limited quantities. It has been used in construction materials and insulation products. It is also considered a contaminant in another asbestos mineral, more commonly used, Chrysotile.
Tremolite is the only mineral on this list that is not used commercially. However, like Anthophyllite, it is a contaminant in Chrysotile asbestos. Therefore, it can also be found in commercial properties.
Why an Asbestos Inspection Can’t Wait
The first step in commercial asbestos removal is getting an inspection done of the property. Aside from its primary purpose of ensuring safety, an inspection is federally mandated if any improvements involving demolition are desired on any commercial property. Luckily ACM has over 20 years of experience in commercial asbestos abatement.
The process for inspection involves a visual overview, an inventory of contaminated products and materials, and sample taking. The samples are then sent to a lab for testing, and once the results are in, the inspector will provide an inspection report with removal recommendations.
Inspections must be done urgently and accurately. Waiting on an inspection could increase the risk of asbestos exposure to employees, tenants, patrons, and anyone who enters the commercial property. The longer the exposure, the more likely serious conditions, including cancer, could occur. If an inspection is not done thoroughly or accurately, it could result in increased exposure and require an additional inspection, delaying removal and increasing costs.
Commercial Asbestos Removal
Based on the inspection results, ACM specialists will develop a customized approach to asbestos removal for commercial property. All safety standards and protocols will be strictly adhered to during the process to minimize exposure and protect the environment. Proper safety attire will be worn at all times, including coveralls and full-face mask respirators.
Once the area has been cut off from all ventilation, including shutting down HVAC units and sealing vents, the area will also be sealed off with plastic sheeting. All materials removed will be placed in clearly labeled, air-tight containers, and HEPA filter vacuums and wet cleanup tools will be used to clean the area. Specialists will conduct air monitoring throughout the process to ensure a safe environment.
After the asbestos is removed from the property, our specialists will follow proper decontamination protocols, including containing or disposing of spoiled clothing and washing off before changing back into street clothes.