lung cancer: (1) mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity; and (2) asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.
The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increases with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is also greater if you smoke. People who get asbestosis have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.
Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop these health problems. However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibers can remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of disease. Asbestos material that would crumble easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is more likely to create a health hazard.
STEAM PIPES, BOILERS, and FURNACE DUCTS insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. These materials may release asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or removed improperly.
RESILIENT FLOOR TILES (vinyl asbestos, asphalt, and rubber), the backing on VINYL SHEET FLOORING, and ADHESIVES used for installing floor tile. Sanding tiles can release fibers. So may scraping or sanding the backing of sheet flooring during removal.
CEMENT SHEET, MILLBOARD, and PAPER used as insulation around furnaces and woodburning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibers. So may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulation.
DOOR GASKETS in furnaces, wood stoves, and coal stoves. Worn seals can release asbestos fibers during use.
SOUNDPROOFING OR DECORATIVE MATERIAL sprayed on walls and ceilings. Loose, crumbly, or water-damaged material may release fibers. So will sanding, drilling, or scraping the material.
PATCHING AND JOINT COMPOUNDS for walls and ceilings, and TEXTURED PAINTS. Sanding, scraping, or drilling these surfaces may release asbestos.
ASBESTOS CEMENT ROOFING, SHINGLES, and SIDING. These products are not likely to release asbestos fibers unless sawed, dilled, or cut.
ARTIFICIAL ASHES AND EMBERS sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces. Also, other older household products such as FIREPROOF GLOVES, STOVE-TOP PADS, IRONING BOARD COVERS, and certain HAIRDRYERS.
AUTOMOBILE BRAKE PADS AND LININGS, CLUTCH FACINGS, and GASKETS.
Make sure no one else is in the room when sampling is done.
Wear disposable gloves or wash hands after sampling.
Shut down any heating or cooling systems to minimize the spread of any released fibers.
Do not disturb the material any more than is needed to take a small sample.
Place a plastic sheet on the floor below the area to be sampled.
Wet the material using a fine mist of water containing a few drops of detergent before taking the sample. The water/detergent mist will reduce the release of asbestos fibers.
Carefully cut a piece from the entire depth of the material using, for example, a small knife, corer, or other sharp object. Place the small piece into a clean container (for example, a 35 mm film canister, small glass or plastic vial, or high quality resealable plastic bag).
Tightly seal the container after the sample is in it.
Carefully dispose of the plastic sheet. Use a damp paper towel to clean up any material on the outside of the container or around the area sampled. Dispose of asbestos materials according to state and local procedures.
Label the container with an identification number and clearly state when and where the sample was taken.
Patch the sampled area with the smallest possible piece of duct tape to prevent fiber release.
Send the sample to an asbestos analysis laboratory accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) at the National Institute of Standards and technology (NIST). A directory of NVLAP-accredited laboratories is available on the NVLAP web site, http://ts.nist.gov/nvlap. Your state or local health department may also be able to help.
Some firms offer combinations of testing, assessment, and correction. A professional hired to assess the need for corrective action should not be connected with an asbestos-correction firm. It is better to use two different firms so there is no conflict of interest. Services vary from one area to another around the country. The federal government has training courses for asbestos professionals around the country. Some state and local governments also have or require training or certification courses. Ask asbestos professionals to document their completion of federal or state-approved training. Each person performing work in your home should provide proof of training and licensing in asbestos work, such as completion of EPA-approved training. State and local health departments or EPA regional offices may have listings of licensed professionals in your area.
If you have a problem that requires the services of asbestos professionals, check their credentials carefully. Hire professionals who are trained, experienced, reputable, and accredited – especially if accreditation is required by state or local laws. Before hiring a professional, ask for references from previous clients. Find out if they were satisfied. Ask whether the professional has handled similar situations. Get cost estimates from several professionals, as the charges for these services can vary.
Though private homes are usually not covered by the asbestos regulations that apply to schools and public buildings, professionals should still use procedures described during federal or state-approved training. Homeowners should be alert to the chance of misleading claims by asbestos consultants and contractors. There have been reports of firms incorrectly claiming that asbestos materials in homes must be replaced. In other cases, firms have encouraged unnecessary removals or performed them improperly. Unnecessary removals are a waste of money. Improper removals may actually increase the health risks to you and your family. To guard against this, know what services are available and what procedures and precautions are needed to do the job properly.
In addition to general asbestos contractors, you may select a roofing, flooring, or plumbing contractor trained to handle asbestos when it is necessary to remove and replace roofing, flooring, siding, or asbestos-cement pipe that is part of a water system. Normally, roofing and flooring contractors are exempt from state and local licensing requirements because they do not perform any other asbestos-correction work. Call 1-800-USA-ROOF for names of qualified roofing contractors in your area. (Illinois residents call 708-318-6722.) For information on asbestos in floors, read “Recommended Work Procedures for Resilient Floor Covers.” You can write for a copy from the Resilient Floor Covering Institute, 966 Hungerford Drive, Suite 12-B, Rockville, MD 20850. Enclose a stamped, business-size, self-addressed envelope.
Asbestos-containing automobile brake pads and linings, clutch facings, and gaskets should be repaired and replaced only by a professional using special protective equipment. Many of these products are now available without asbestos. For more information, read “Guidance for Preventing Asbestos Disease Among Auto Mechanics,” available from regional EPA offices.
Make sure an inspecting firm makes frequent site visits if it is hired to assure that a contractor follows proper procedures and requirements. The inspector may recommend and perform checks after the correction to assure the area has been properly cleaned.
Insist that the contractor use the proper equipment to do the job. The workers must wear approved respirators, gloves, and other protective clothing.
Before work begins, get a written contract specifying the work plan, cleanup, and the applicable federal, state, and local regulations which the contractor must follow (such as notification requirements and asbestos disposal procedures). Contact your state and local health departments, EPA’s regional office, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s regional office to find out what the regulations are. Be sure the contractor follows local asbestos removal and disposal laws. At the end of the job, get written assurance from the contractor that all procedures have been followed.
Assure that the contractor avoids spreading or tracking asbestos dust into other areas of your home. They should seal the work area from the rest of the house using plastic sheeting and duct tape, and also turn off the heating and air conditioning system. For some repairs, such as pipe insulation removal, plastic glove bags may be adequate. They must be sealed with tape and properly disposed of when the job is complete.
Make sure the work site is clearly marked as a hazard area. Do not allow household members and pets into the area until work is completed.
Insist that the contractor apply a wetting agent to the asbestos material with a hand sprayer that creates a fine mist before removal. Wet fibers do not float in the air as easily as dry fibers and will be easier to clean up.
Make sure the contractor does not break removed material into small pieces. This could release asbestos fibers into the air. Pipe insulation was usually installed in preformed blocks and should be removed in complete pieces.
Upon completion, assure that the contractor cleans the area well with wet mops, wet rags, sponges, or HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaners. A regular vacuum cleaner must never be used. Wetting helps reduce the chance of spreading asbestos fibers in the air. All asbestos materials and disposable equipment and clothing used in the job must be placed in sealed, leakproof, and labeled plastic bags. The work site should be visually free of dust and debris. Air monitoring (to make sure there is no increase of asbestos fibers in the air) may be necessary to assure that the contractor’s job is done properly. This should be done by someone not connected with the contractor.
If it is not friable, it can be gravimetrically reduced and then point-counted for extra cost.
10,000-100,000 AS/cm²: recent or potential exposure
>100,000 AS/cm²: active asbestos exposure
September 23, 2017 (delayed from June 23, 2017)—Construction employers must comply with all requirements of the standard, except for the laboratory analysis provisions of the standard (Appendix A).
June 23, 2018—Compliance with the analysis provisions of the standard for construction according to the procedures in Appendix A.
June 23, 2018—General-industry and maritime employers must comply with all requirements of the standard, except for phase-in dates for medical surveillance and for engineering controls in the oil and gas industry.
June 23, 2021—The obligation for engineering controls for hydraulic fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry begins. Employers must comply with all other requirements of the standard for hydraulic fracturing beginning June 23, 2018.
You can find more information about OSHA’s silica rule at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/silicacrystalline/
Hexavalent chromium, or chromium (IV), is a form of the metallic element chromium generally produced by industrial processes. Occupational exposures occur mainly among workers who weld or perform other types of “hot work” on stainless steel or other metals containing chromium, operate chrome plating baths, or handle chromate-containing pigments, spray paints, or coatings.
OSHA has set the PEL for airborne hexavalent chromium at 5 µg/m3 and the action level at 2.5 µg/m3, calculated as an eight-hour TWA.
Yes, we provide sample analysis for hexavalent chromium. We also provide media if the samples will be returned to us for analysis. In addition, we have a limited number of sampling pumps that can be borrowed if available.
You can find more information about OSHA’s hexavalent chromium rule at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hexavalentchromium/
Lead and Metals
Metal particles can become airborne during industrial processes such as sandblasting, welding, or paint removal. During home renovation projects, lead can become airborne during the removal of lead-based paint by sanding or scraping.
Lead can be introduced into drinking water from contamination at the source from a water treatment plant, a private water well, or lead-based pipes in buildings.
We can analyze water for lead if there is reason for concern. However, most municipalities have practices in place to test water supplies.
This is not recommended because there is a specific procedure for sampling drinking water for lead contamination. We can recommend a consulting firm, however.
The method of analysis is dependent on what you would like the sample analyzed for. Flame AA is suitable for Cd, Pb, Ni, Mn, and Cr. For other metals, the ICP would be recommended.
Soil 1 gram or 1 Tablespoon
TCLP 105 grams or approximately 1 cup
Water 1 liter
Air 200 liters for NIOSH Method 7082 (flame AA) and 50 liters for NIOSH Method 7300 (ICP)
Wipes 1 sq. ft. (Ghost wipes only – no baby wipes)
Place individual samples in labeled, sealed baggies. Place samples and chain of custody in a larger sealed baggie for proper handling and transfer to lab personnel. Improperly contained samples can cross-contaminate other samples and lab personnel.
Molds can be allergenic, toxigenic, and pathogenic. Concerns about health affects related to mold exposure should be directed to an appropriate healthcare professional.
In Texas, the DSHS regulates the cleaning of mold affected building materials. A homeowner can take samples for mold or clean it up in the home without a license. An owner or a managing agent or employee of an owner of a residential property is not required to be licensed unless the property has 10 or more residential dwelling units. For non-residential properties, an owner, tenant, or managing agent or an employee of an owner or tenant is not required to be licensed to do mold assessment or remediation on property owned or leased by the owner or tenant unless the mold contamination affects a total surface area of 25 contiguous square feet or more. Please refer to 25 TAC §295.303 for further details on exceptions and exemptions to licensing requirements.
Please contact us at (713) 290-0221 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance locating a reputable, licensed mold remediation contractor.
Mold may be sampled by tape, swab, bulk, spore trap, or agar plate. In Texas, the DSHS regulates mold-sampling activities. J3 can provide mold-sample analysis and recommend an appropriately licensed sampling professional.
Non-culturable type analysis (spore traps and direct exams) can be analyzed immediately. Standard turnaround time is five business days. Expedited turnaround can be requested at an additional cost. Culturable analysis takes approximately 7–14 days for analysis. Please contact us for pricing.
Culturable agar plate “total colony count” with gram stain (three to five days), coliform presence/absence (one day), enterococcus presence/absence (one day), pseudomonas presence/absence (one day), legionella presence/absence + serotypes (three days), and more. Call (713) 290-0221 for details.
Bacteria are fragile outside of their ideal environments, so they need to be kept moist and at or below room temperature. Samples should be delivered to the lab for testing within 24 hours, including water samples, wet-swab samples, and bulk materials—all in water tight containers. We have sterile, moist swabs in sealed tubes we can loan you for sampling purposes.
Bacterial cultures take 1–5 business days to incubate and identify, depending on the type of tests. The various presence/absence tests we offer are mature at 18–24 hours and require one business day to process. (Note: Such samples delivered Monday–Thursday can be completed and reported to you the following day. A Friday sample will be refrigerated and processed early Monday for Tuesday results.
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