Contractors and handymen are, by nature of their trade, unspecialized. They commonly accept work that they’ve never previously performed. They simply learn on the job.
There’s really nothing wrong with that when you’re talking about something innocuous, such as hanging drywall or painting, but when you venture into specialty services that require expertise, training, and equipment, problems are bound to occur.
This is especially true of Asbestos, where improper removal by an unqualified contractor can result in a serious danger to the health of you and your family.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was mined and used in various building components and home products. Unfortunately, we later learned that the Asbestos fibers can cause serious, life threatening, health effects such as Mesothelioma and Asbestosis.
Can my contractor remove Asbestos?
No. The removal, or abatement, of Asbestos is heavily regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Labor and Industry, as well as the Federal EPA. In fact, any contractor that disturbs or removes an Asbestos containing material is breaking the law.
And these laws are for good reason. Not only can these contractors harm themselves, but they can contaminate your home, exposing you and your loved ones to dangerous Asbestos fibers. Due to the concern of fiber exposure that is likely to accompany improper removal, all contractors working with Asbestos must complete specialized training and maintain state licensing.
What building materials contain Asbestos?
Due to its unmatched thermal and acoustical properties, along with its durability, Asbestos was viewed as a miracle material. This meant that it was used in many, many building materials, from pipe wrap insulation and floor tile to surfacing materials and plasters.
While some materials, such as Asbestos Pipe Wrap and Asbestos Floor Tile are largely recognizable from a visual inspection, testing is required to definitively determine if a building material contains Asbestos. This is particularly important for materials that less commonly contained Asbestos, such as plaster and joint compound.
Contractors that are working in your home are expected to recognize the potential for Asbestos exposure during tearout or repairs, however lack the training and understanding to competently do so. For this reason, we always recommend that you hire a mitigation and restoration firm that is licensed to perform Asbestos Abatement.
What happens if my contactor improperly removes Asbestos?
Proper Asbestos Abatement is performed under strict controls and following important safety precautions. If these steps are not taken, your contractor could contaminate your home with Asbestos fibers, placing your health at risk and dramatically increasing the cost of proper Asbestos Abatement services which will now be necessary to correct their improper work.
To make matters worse, though your contractor may have a General Liability policy for cases where there are issues with their work, this coverage would not apply here. Not only is your contractor performing work illegally, but Asbestos is a common exclusion in these policies. This means that any cost to address the contamination your contractor caused is ultimately your responsibility.
Though the health risks of Asbestos are commonly known by homeowners, the importance of hiring a qualified and properly licensed contractor to perform the Abatement is less understood. For the safety of yourself and occupants, always ensure contractors are qualified for the work they will be performing.
Disaster Blaster is proud to be properly Licensed by The State of Pennsylvania to perform Asbestos Abatement. If you have Asbestos in your home and would like a quote, please don't hesitate to Contact Our Offices! We're happy to help and even have Financing Options Available!
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*This story originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Connections Magazine, as part of a monthly contribution made by Disaster Blaster, Inc. Please check out the current issue of Connections Magazine for this month's story!
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