Does NYC have an asbestos problem? Absolutely.

Before the 1980s, it was used in building materials such as fireproofing products, pipe and boiler insulation, roofing materials, ceiling and floor tiles, and asbestos cement. Because these asbestos-laden building materials were so common in the construction industry in NYC, they can still be found in apartment buildings, homes, schools, churches, hospitals, commercial buildings, and other structures throughout the region. Unfortunately, even some newer homes may contain asbestos.

Although abatement efforts are ongoing in New York City and its counties–New York County (Manhattan), Bronx County (Bronx), Kings County (Brooklyn), Queens County (Queens), and Richmond County (Staten Island)–the state overall still ranks number three in the nation in asbestos-related deaths. What all of this means is, having your home or building tested for asbestos is never a bad idea. However, the need for testing may be more pressing.

5 Reasons to Test for Asbestos in New York City Now

1. You are planning a renovation.

When asbestos is disturbed, it can crumble and change into powder or dust. Once this happens, asbestos fibers become airborne. Inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to debilitating conditions such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, as well as pleural disorders such as asbestosis, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and pleural effusion. Keep in mind that there is no known safe level of asbestos exposure.

2. You are planning to buy or sell.

Just about every potential buyer will (or should) ask whether the home or building contains asbestos. Uncertainty can affect the price and potential sale of the home or building. Although asbestos testing is considered inexpensive (all things considered), the costs for abatement can be quite hefty.

3. Your home or building has water damage or sewage backup.

If this is the case, the walls, flooring, ceilings and associated insulation may need repair or replacement. Testing can help prevent unnecessary (and costly) delays during the restoration process.

4. Your home or building contains vermiculite attic insulation.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a staggering 70 percent of vermiculite sold in the U.S. from 1919 to 1990 came from a mine near Libby, Montana. There was also a deposit of asbestos at the mine, so the vermiculite from Libby was contaminated with asbestos. The EPA states that “if you have vermiculite insulation in your home, you should assume this material may be contaminated with asbestos and be aware of steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from exposure to asbestos.”

5. You, a family member or employee are experiencing unusual symptoms.

Chest pain, shortness of breath with physical exertion, dry cough, or fatigue that won’t go away are all symptoms of asbestos-related disease. See your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and RTK Environmental Group can help with the rest.

Although asbestos is extremely dangerous, it is easily managed. Our trained and accredited asbestos professionals service New York City and can have your home, potential business location, construction site, or remodeling project sampled safely and in compliance with state and county regulations. Take the necessary steps to make sure you, your workers, or your family are not harmed by asbestos. Call RTK Environmental to schedule an appointment today at 800.392.6468.

Past exposure to lead may be to blame for over 400,000 deaths in the United States every year (The Lancet Public Health.)

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