Environmental Tests : Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral fiber used in over 3,000 products. Until 1978, asbestos fibers had been added to building products to strengthen, to provide heat insulation and fire resistance. Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) are not considered a health concern when intact and non-friable. However, when asbestos materials are damaged or friable, there is a health concern.

An ACM is positively identified through laboratory analysis only. If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos and/or have it sampled and analyzed by a licensed specialist.

Within a home inspection, materials may be identified as a “potential asbestos containing material”. Your inspection report will recommend further evaluation by a specialist. The Connecticut Department of Health specifically requires that all asbestos testing, planning and abatement be done by an appropriately state-licensed individual.

For further information and a list of building products that are known to contain Asbestos, visit the EPA website. 

While the identification of Environmental Substances are not part of a Home Inspection according to the State Standards, we do believe it is our role to assist clients in making an informed decision. When Potential Asbestos Containing Materials are concerned, we will provide logical next step information for our clients  as part of our Inspection Process. Tiger Group will: 

  • Report any visible and accessible areas displaying Potential Asbestos Containing Materials.
  • Discuss our findings with the client and any interested party they have directed us to inform.
  • Record our findings in the Inspection Report
  • Provide direction for the client to follow up with a Licensed Asbestos Abatement Contractor.
  • Ensure the Client Communication includes direction for the Licensed Abatement Contractor to develop a Scope of Work and Cost Estimates.

 

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion. Asbestos has been used in products for residential construction, such as insulation for pipes, ducts, floor tiles, and a host of other building materials. Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard and its use is now highly regulated by both The DPH and the EPA. 

What can be done to reduce the hazards of Asbestos?

Simply, reduce your exposure. Depending on the materials, the best course of action may be to just leave it alone.

Sometimes, that may not be an option. If you are planning to remodel, you may be disturbing Potential Asbestos Containing Materials. Your first course of action will be to conclusively identify the material as one that contains Asbestos. To test, contact a Licensed Asbestos Contractor to conduct analysis and take samples.  

What is Vermiculite?

Vermiculite is a naturally-occurring mineral composed of shiny flakes, resembling mica.  It is a light-weight, fire-resistant, and odorless material and has been used in numerous products, including insulation for attics and walls. Sizes of vermiculite products range from very fine particles to large pieces nearly an inch long. 

Because the EPA believes most, if not all of the Vermiculite Insulation contains Asbestos, further testing is not necessary to take the appropriate precautions. While you can hire a trained professional to test your attic for asbestos, this may be expensive and, depending on the methods used, may give you erroneous results. Therefore, the EPA Recommendations are as follows:

  • Leave vermiculite insulation undisturbed in your attic or in your walls.
  • Do not store boxes or other items in your attic if it contains vermiculite insulation.
  • Do not allow children to play in an attic with vermiculite insulation.
  • Do not attempt to remove the insulation yourself.
  • If you plan to remodel or conduct renovations that would disturb the vermiculite in your attic or walls, hire a professional licensed Asbestos Contractor to make sure the material is safely handled and/or removed.

While the identification of Environmental Substances are not part of a Home Inspection according to the State Standards, we do believe it is our role to assist clients in making an informed decision. When Potential Asbestos Containing Materials are a concern, we will provide logical next step information for our clients  as part of our Inspection Process. Tiger Group will: 

  • Report any visible and accessible areas displaying Potential Asbestos Containing Materials.
  • Discuss our findings with the client and any interested party they have directed us to inform.
  • Record our findings in the Inspection Report
  • Provide direction for the client to follow up with a Licensed Asbestos Abatement Contractor.
  • Ensure the Client Communication includes direction for the Licensed Abatement Contractor to develop a Scope of Work and Cost Estimates.