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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


How do I know if I have asbestos in my home? (Floor tile, ceiling tile, shingles, siding, etc)

The only way to be sure whether a material contains asbestos is to have it tested by a qualified laboratory. EPA only recommends testing suspect materials if they are damaged (fraying, crumbling) or if you are planning a renovation that would disturb the suspect material. Samples should be taken by a properly trained and accredited asbestos professional (inspector).

 

What are the health risks if I have asbestos in my home, building, apartment, or school?

Asbestos that is in good condition and left undisturbed is unlikely to present a health risk. The risks from asbestos occur when it is damaged or disturbed where asbestos fibers become airborne and can be inhaled. Managing asbestos in place and maintaining it in good repair is often the best approach.


Where can I find someone to remove the asbestos or mold in my home?

Call us! With over 8 years in the industry, we are trained professionals, fully licensed with the State of Maine  and know how to safely and effectively remove mold and asbestos from your home or commercial property. You can also contact the state to determine what state training and accreditation requirements may exist for both the contractor and their workers. EPA recommends that you use an asbestos contractor that is properly trained to handle asbestos.

 

My attic has vermiculite insulation in it. Am I at risk? Should I take it out?

If you have vermiculite insulation in your home, you should assume this material may be contaminated with asbestos and be aware of steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from exposure to asbestos. The EPA recommends that vermiculite insulation be left undisturbed. Airborne asbestos fibers present a health risk through inhalation, so the first step is to not disturb the material, which could release fibers into the air. If you disturb the insulation, you may inhale some asbestos fibers. The degree of health risk depends on how much and how often this occurred. If you choose to remove the vermiculite insulation, this work should be done by a trained and accredited asbestos abatement contractor that is separate and independent from the company that performed the assessment of the vermiculite insulation to avoid any conflict of interest. 

 

I'm remodeling my home. Do I need to be concerned about asbestos in the building materials?

It's not possible for you to tell whether a material in your home contains asbestos simply by looking at it. If you suspect a material within your home might contain asbestos (for example: floor tile, ceiling tile or old pipe) and the material is damaged (fraying or falling apart) or if you re planning on performing a renovation that would disturb the material, the EPA recommends that you have it sampled by a properly trained and accredited asbestos professional (inspector). The professional then should use a qualified laboratory to perform asbestos analysis. Also, you may learn about whether the replacement material you intend to install might possibly contain asbestos by reading the product labels, calling the manufacturer or by asking if your retailer can provide you with the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product in question. 


Since asbestos was banned, do I need to be worried about products on the market today containing asbestos?

On July 12, 1989, the EPA issued a final rule under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning most asbestos-containing products in the United States. In 1991, the rule was vacated and remanded by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, most of the original ban on the manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce for most of the asbestos containing product categories originally covered in the 1989 final rule was overturned. Only the bans on corrugated paper, roll board, commercial paper, specialty paper, and flooring felt and any new uses of asbestos remained banned under the 1989 rule. Although most asbestos containing products can still legally be manufactured, imported, processed and distributed in the U.S.,according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the production and use of asbestos has declined significantly.  


What are molds?

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.


What are some of the common indoor molds?

Cladosporium

Penicillium

Alternaria

Aspergillus


How do molds affect people?

Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. People with a weakened immune system, such as people receiving treatment for cancer, people who have had an organ or stem cell transplant, and people taking medicines that suppress the immune system, are more likely to get mold infections. Exposure to mold or dampness may also lead to development of asthma in some individuals. Interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.


Where are molds found?

Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.


How can people decrease mold exposure?

Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by controlling humidity levels and ventilating showers and cooking areas. If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products. 

Specific Recommendations:

Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.

Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.

Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.

Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.

Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.

Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.

Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.




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