What is Asbestos?
So what is Asbestos? Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in many different aspects of building construction for hundreds, even thousands of years. Asbestos has high fire and electrical resistant qualities and was used in applications such as insulation, electrical panels, flooring, siding, textured surfacing and many various sealants and adhesives. Mining and production of Asbestos Containing Materials has been banned in the US since the late 1970’s, but many other countries across the world continue to mine and produce ACM’s, many of which have significant trade agreements with the US.
After finding out what is asbestos, Building materials known to have been made with asbestos, otherwise known as “suspect materials”, include many items still found and used in today’s home construction. Such materials as drywall, joint compound, textured surfacing, and adhesives are well known to be used in home construction, and have a chance of being asbestos containing even today. Other materials like HVAC ducting wrap, floor tiles, sheet vinyl, and vermiculite insulation are also known to have been made with asbestos, some of which are not as common in current construction.eo.
Asbestos-containing materials left in good condition and undisturbed are not likely to cause any health concerns. Once an asbestos containing material is disturbed and or damaged it then becomes airborne and may then cause potential health risks. Before disturbing any building materials inside your home, make sure to get them tested prior to any type of disturbance, including remodel or home renovations.
Buildings of ANY age may contain asbestos-containing building materials, including newly built homes. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, if you are disturbing any suspect building materials and are exceeding the trigger levels you are required, per State regulation No. 8 Part B, to have the suspect materials tested by a Colorado-certified Building Inspector prior to removing the suspect material(s). At BuildSafe, we have identified asbestos containing materials in residential properties from the 1990s, 2000s and even brand new homes!
What is asbestos and can I test for it in my home? According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if the suspect material exceeds the trigger levels, it MUST be inspected for asbestos by a Colorado-certified asbestos building inspector.
What is asbestos and can I remove it myself? According to Regulation 8, Part B – Asbestos, any person who conducts asbestos abatement shall obtain a General Abatement Contractor (GAC) if the amount of asbestos containing material(s) to be removed exceeds the trigger levels. However, this rule does not apply if the individual owns the property and it is their primary residence. In addition, the individual will need some type of documentation confirming that the asbestos containing material was removed properly prior to other parties working on and or living in the property. Note: that when you remove your own asbestos containing building materials you will still need to follow proper asbestos transportation and waste disposal regulations.
Trigger levels are the amounts of asbestos-containing materials to be removed or disturbed which would have to comply with CDPHE Regulation 8 Part B – Asbestos. The trigger levels are as follows:
*Single Family Residential Dwellings (SFRD): 50 linear feet on pipes; 32 square feet on other surfaces; or the volume equivalent of a 55-gallon drum.
*Public / Commercial Buildings (Not SFRD): 260 linear feet on pipes; 160 square feet on other surfaces; or the volume equivalent of a 55-gallon drum.
Yes, when remodeling your home, you will need to verify that the building materials do not contain asbestos prior to removal. Suspect materials include: Ceiling and wall textures; joint compounds or joint tapes; vinyl flooring mastic and coverings; boiler and pipe insulation; heating and cooling duct insulation, ceiling tiles; roofing products; clapboard shingles; Etc. Typically if the material is not wood, metal, glass, or mortar is it suspect and should be tested as there is no way of knowing if the material contains asbestos just by looking at it.
According to Federal law, it is not required to disclose asbestos containing materials to a potential buyer. However according to Colorado home seller disclosure requirements, the seller needs to disclose any material defects that may affect the value of the property to the best of the sellers “current actual knowledge”. Keep in mind the seller may not know of any asbestos containing materials if the suspect materials had not been previously tested.
Not all suspect materials contain environmental hazards, such as asbestos or lead-based paint. If you are concerned that some of the materials removed in their scope of work may be hazardous, you can ask your neighbor if they had the materials tested prior to removal. They should have documentation that verifies materials were properly tested.
If you see a demolition permit posted on the house, then it is most likely that the city and county have already verified testing for hazardous materials.
You may contact the Colorado Department of Public Health and Safety (CDPHE) and voice your concerns.
CDPHE Asbestos Contacts: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/asbestos-contacts
General Asbestos Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Number: 303.692.3100
If you are not disturbing the popcorn ceiling by scraping, damaging or disturbing the material you do not need to get it tested. Only building materials that will be disturbed need to be inspected for asbestos.
Please work safely around suspect asbestos-containing materials and call BuildSafe to verify if a material does or does not contain asbestos prior to disturbance.
What is asbestos spill? An asbestos spill means that asbestos-containing materials were improperly disturbed, and have now caused a asbestos fiber release episode.
There are two types of spills, major and minor.
Major Spill: A major spill occurs when more than the established trigger level quantity of asbestos containing materials have been damaged or disturbed. It is required, that the spill area should be contained and decontaminated by a certified and licensed asbestos abatement contractor. All contents in the affected area must be considered as contaminated unless proper air or dust samples verify the contents or area to be free of asbestos.
Minor Spill: A minor spill occurs when less than the established trigger level quantity of asbestos containing materials have been damaged or disturbed. It is recommended not required, that the spill area should be contained and decontaminated by a certified and licensed asbestos abatement contractor. All contents in the affected area must be considered as contaminated unless proper air or dust samples verify the contents or area to be free of asbestos.
If you are concerned about an asbestos spill, please cut off all access to the area of concern and contact BuildSafe Environmental immediately for proper response action. We are here to help!