OGI Environmental (OGI) provides asbestos consulting services including Asbestos Surveys. Asbestos (Greek for “indestructible) is a generic name given to the fibrous variety of six naturally occurring minerals that have been used in various products that possess high strength, flexibility, resistance to chemical and thermal degradation and that can be woven. Because of these properties, asbestos has been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, mainly in building materials, automobile products, heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets and coatings. In the U.S., asbestos has been found naturally occurring in 20 States and mined in 17 States for over 100 years. It has been used worldwide for over 4,000 years and over 3,000 products contained asbestos.
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Breathing high levels of asbestos fibers for a long time can lead to an increased risk of asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Asbestosis is a noncancerous lung disease related to a scarring of the lungs and occurs in people heavily exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Lung cancer has been linked to a variety of occupational exposures. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the membranes lining the lungs, chest and abdominal cavity, almost always linked to asbestos exposure. Asbestos became popular during the Industrial Revolution of the late 19th century. It was used as insulation for steam pipes, turbines, boilers, kilns, ovens and other high-temperature products. At the turn of the 20th century, researchers began to notice a large number of deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns. In 1917, it was observed that asbestos workers were dying at unnaturally young ages. It is disturbing to note that despite health risks, the production and use of asbestos products continued to grow until the mid 1970s. Although its use has declined, asbestos is still present in many materials produced in the U.S. and in foreign products which are exported to the U.S.
Building materials containing asbestos that are not disturbed or deteriorated do not, in general, pose a health risk and can be left alone. Regardless of age however, regulations require that an asbestos survey be conducted prior to disturbing suspect building materials in commercial or residential buildings (residential >4 units, generally).
Building Inspections for Asbestos
Inspections for suspected Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) is prudent when:
- The property or business ownership is being transferred or is undergoing financing/refinancing;
- The building is more than 10 years old or is to be demolished or renovated;
- The building contains interior finishes;
- Original heating and cooling systems or roofs are to be replaced.
Asbestos Inspections and Survey
Investigations for asbestos include:
- Review of as-built drawings to identify the types, locations and ages of any suspect ACM;
- Development of an inspection plan to specify work tasks, inspection procedures, and analytical techniques;
- Development of an inspection schedule; assignment of inspection/sampling personnel;
- Bulk sampling of suspect ACM.
A final asbestos survey report includes: an inventory of sampled suspect ACM, assessments of the physical condition of suspect ACM, laboratory analytical sample results, and recommendations.
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