Hazardous material such as mold, lead, or asbestos can cause serious health issues in both residential and commercial structures. These safety risks can spell disaster for building owners and cause unwanted harm to those that work, live, or visit certain properties.
There are three main suspects when it comes to health and safety concerns in residential and commercial structures:
These three toxic substances can be difficult to find and sometimes even more challenging to get rid of in the long run. Before we dive too deep into the various differences between abatement and remediation, let’s explore what makes these three substances so dangerous.
For centuries, asbestos has been used in a wide variety of products. It’s durable, flexible, and fire-resistant properties made it a popular choice for many applications — unfortunately, it caused more harm than good.
While many Americans believe that asbestos has been banned from use or removed from many properties — it’s still prevalent in many older structures. This mineral can be found in:
Asbestos also comes in many forms, including chrysolite, amosite, crocidolite, and anthophyllite. These are all used for specific functions, such as the list we provided above.
So, what makes asbestos so harmful and potentially dangerous? When asbestos is disturbed, it breaks off into microscopic and tasteless fibers that can wreak havoc on a respiratory system. Health experts have discovered lung conditions stemming from asbestos, such as Asbestosis and Mesothelioma.
Asbestosis is a disease where asbestos fibers scar lung tissue causing serious damage.
Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer caused by asbestos fibers — the average life expectancy is 12 months after diagnosis.
Before 1978, lead was a common ingredient in many paint products that were extremely popular in residential and commercial properties. While it’s been banned, many structures still have lead hiding underneath new coats of less harmful paint.
Lead exposure is a serious issue and can cause serious issues with children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. Lead can break off from areas that receive a lot of wear like window systems, banisters, handrails, and other areas that are touched or moved fairly often.
Some issues that stem from lead poisoning can include:
- Developmental delays
- Weight loss
- Hearing loss
These are primarily side effects that children face, but adults and the elderly face problems such as:
- Joint and muscle paint
- Mood disorders
- Memory difficulties
- High blood pressure
Mold is our third and final look at structural problems that many property owners face. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issues guidelines to limit mold exposure and protect visitors and residents. While mold is a completely naturally occurring process — it can be mitigated and taken care of.
Mold is a product of moisture, and because it’s living and constantly reproducing, it can spread alarmingly fast. Mold can come about as a result of water damage, ventilation moisture, and even sewage leakage. Regardless of how it starts or where it lives, it needs to be taken care of to keep everyone safe.
Mold produces irritants, allergens, and even toxins that can cause health complications. While some people have a quick and serious reaction to mold, others may not realize their health is at risk until later on — as issues can lay dormant.
Some common problems include:
- Allergic reactions
- Asthma complications
- Irritation to the eyes, nose, lungs, throat, and skin
Ridding Your Structures of Asbestos, Lead, and Mold
When you’re ready to take the necessary steps and make a structure safe, there are essentially two options — abatement and remediation.
Abatement refers to the process of removing hazardous materials from a structure or covering it safely — so that it’s no longer causing issues. So, what does this look like?
Inspectors determine the location and scope of the contamination issue and seal off any areas that may pose a threat. Abatement specialists remove the hazardous material in its entirety and clean the area as well as possible. Licensed abatement specialists undergo intensive training to ensure their safety and the safety of those who reside or visit the building.
If certain areas that have hazardous materials on them are integral to the structure — they may not be able to be removed. In that case, they are sealed off with specialized materials and equipment. This will keep airborne toxins from escaping and affecting anyone.
This process includes abatement but goes a couple of steps further. Remediation is an entire plan to rid the structure of hazardous materials and ensure that they don’t happen again. There are a lot of moving parts in remediation, and it can be an intensive and expensive process.
- Identifying hazardous materials and contaminants — along with the source
- Abatement process to remove the contaminants
- Create solutions to eliminate the source
- Create solutions to eliminate the underlying cause
This comprehensive procedure will not only remove contaminants and hazardous materials but also prevent them from happening again. Lead, mold, and asbestos can all be taken care of with the right processes.
Below is a list of all training programs that workers need to complete in order to work in buildings that may have hazardous materials like asbestos, lead, or mold.
- Asbestos Inspector
- Asbestos Operations and Maintenance
- Asbestos Project Monitor
- Asbestos Contractor/Supervisor
- Asbestos Worker
- Asbestos Management Planner
- Asbestos Project Designer
- Custodial and Maintenance Workers (Awareness Course)
Those that work in areas where lead may be present, there are several training programs and certifications that are required by the EPA. Failure to secure the right training can be costly — with fines up to $37,500 per day
Those that work with mold also must complete certain training. It’s important for contractors to remain knowledgable of laws and regulations so that their staff is properly trained.
We provide a wide variety of training services, including abatement certifications. Contact us today to get started!