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Nov 19
asbestos check

How To Safely Check For Asbestos

Although hiring a professional for an asbestos check-up and testing is strongly recommended, there are signs that can help you determine if your home or building may have asbestos-containing materials.

Building Construction Date

Asbestos was among one of the most widely used construction materials from the early 1920s until 1989 when an asbestos ban was implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It’s important to consider the construction date of your home or building when considering getting an asbestos inspection. If the building was constructed from 1920-1989, it is likely that it was built with asbestos-containing materials.

Items That Commonly Contained Asbestos

Up until the EPA banned asbestos materials for commercial use, walls, flooring, vinyl tiles, textured paints, insulation, fireproofing materials, pipes, and electric wiring regularly contained asbestos. In addition to construction materials, asbestos used to be used in gas heaters, hairdryers, fireproof clothing, automotive brakes, and other commonly used items.

Signs of Disturbed Asbestos Materials

Although you can’t tell if an item contains asbestos just from looking at it, it’s important to look for signs of degrading construction materials.

Since asbestos becomes toxic once airborne, you should get an asbestos test if you spot the following in your asbestos check —especially if older construction materials were used in your building:

  • Disintegrating pipes, insulation, walls, tiles, vinyl flooring, stovetop pads
  • Any other disintegrating material—especially when said material has been present in the building since its construction or prior to 1989.
  • Cracks
  • Dusty areas and spots where the material appears to be breaking down

If you do find signs of disturbed asbestos materials in your home or building, it’s important not to touch or handle the materials as this can cause further contamination to your home or building. Instead, call a professional.

Next Steps

If your home or building was constructed from 1920-1989, an asbestos inspection is worth considering—especially if there are signs of disturbed asbestos materials.

Our environmental experts at Alpha Environmental are well trained in safely obtaining asbestos samples without risking greater exposure to your home or building. To learn more about our asbestos inspection and testing services, give us a call at 503-406-6686.

Matthew Micheletty

About The Author

Matthew has been Alpha's Director of Operations for over four years. He works directly with our clients in effort to provide exceptional customer service as well as managing the day to day of the company. When he's not at the office, you can find him at Red Tail Golf Club or cruising PDX in one of his project cars.