Questions and answers about Asbestos, Lead, Mold

EME provides this summary of frequently asked questions about asbestos, lead and mold. Our licensed professionals are happy to answer your additional questions.

Asbestos

Q.  What should I do if I have vermiculite in my attic?

A.  Do Not Disturb It! Any disturbance has the potential to release asbestos fibers into the air. Limiting the number of trips to the attic and shortening the length of those trips can help limit your exposure. Do not try to remove the insulation. Hire professionals trained and certified to safely remove the material.

Q.  How do I know if the insulation on my pipes is asbestos?

A.  The only certain way is to bulk sample the material. If the material is dated before 1978, there’s a good chance asbestos may be present.

Q.  If I wear a dust mask, can’t I just remove the asbestos myself?

A. A nuisance dust mask will not protect you from the dangerous asbestos fibers. Our technicians are trained in the latest techniques to remove asbestos in a safe manner for them and the area that they are working in. Containment of the area and cross contamination are key concerns when removing asbestos.

Lead

Q. How do I know if there is lead-based paint in my house or building?

A.  If your house or building was built prior to 1978 chances are you have lead-based paint (LBP) issues. LBP was the best paint you could get, so it was used in good quality homes and commercial properties.

Q.  Where is the LBP most commonly located?

A.  LBP was used on most friction surfaces or areas of high impact, i.e.: window sashes, jambs and frames; base trim, chair rail, crown molding; doors, jambs and frames, exterior trim, porch railings and columns. LBP was used on other surfaces like kitchen and bathroom ceilings and walls.

Q.  How much does it cost to remove the LBP from my house?

A. You do not want to remove all of the lead from your house because is is not economically possible. If the LBP is in good condition and is not peeling or flaking off you do not need to do anything with it. It is perfectly safe to have in your house.

Q. When do I need to have LBP removed from my house?

A. When you are renovating your Pre-1978 house you should contact a licensed lead abatement contractor to help you evaluate your plan. EME will work with your builder, architect or contractor to provide pre-renovation dust control, selective LBP demolition and lead-safe construction.

Mold

Q.  What causes mold in a house?

A.  Mold growth requires 1) Spores; 2) Food source; 3) Moisture; 4) Temperature – 40 F. to 100 F.  A lot of mold issues evolve around roof ventilation, crawl space ventilation, water events like broken pipes or sewer backups and high humidity conditions.

Q.  Does a company have to be licensed to perform mold remediation?

A.  Currently there is no legislation that requires a company to be licensed to perform mold remediation. It would be prudent to check out the company/individual for certifications and training within the industry. Organizations such as Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) offer training, testing and certification in mold remediation. Check references and understand the techniques used for remediation.

Q.  I found mold growing in my house, how do I test the mold?

A.  Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence. Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds. Since the susceptibility of individuals can vary greatly either because of the amount of mold or type of mold, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining the health risk. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal.

EME’s licensed pros are ready to answer your questions.