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If you’ve put off finishing your basement or upgrading your bathroom while waiting for the economy to show some life, you’re not alone. But now that economic conditions are improving, the outlook on home renovations is looking up, too. You may be one of the many homeowners ready to tackle long-awaited demolition projects. Is checking your home for asbestos on your DIY to-do list?

“Unless your home is made completely of wood, glass, or metal, there is potential for your home to have asbestos-containing materials in it, regardless of when it was built,” said Robert Weitz, principal and senior project manager, RTK Environmental Group, a leader in environmental testing for mold, asbestos, indoor air quality, and lead in the metro-New York region. “When do-it-yourselfers begin a home renovation project, they risk exposure to asbestos—and any exposure to asbestos poses serious health risks.”

Pro is the Only Way to Go

Don’t know what the pipe insulation is made of? Not sure about those tiles? It’s best to leave the materials alone until you know whether or not they contain asbestos—and that’s best determined by a certified professional. When you disturb materials, toxic dust and spores may be released into the air. Then, they may travel through your home’s HVAC system and contaminate your indoor environment. Cleaning up a toxic environment can be dangerous—and you may be subjecting yourself and your family to unnecessary risk.

“Safely conducting an asbestos survey is a serious matter,” notes Weitz. “Inhaling even the tiniest asbestos particle can cause lung disease and cancer,” he explains. “Our professional asbestos investigators are certified, well-educated, highly trained, and experienced in identifying suspect materials, then safely removing the samples.”

Asbestos surveys vary according to the needs of property owners. RTK investigators will provide an inventory of suspect materials based on a visual inspection for those looking for a pre-purchase inspection. When demolition is planned, inspectors will take small samples of suspect materials, among them:

  • Floor tiles
  • Linoleum
  • Pipe wrap
  • Attic insulation
  • Roof shingles and tar

The number of samples taken depends on the materials and the surface area to be demolished. That said, RTK Environmental Group does not offer asbestos abatement in order to provide an accurate, unbiased assessment of potential health risks. “We help to educate our clients about suspect materials, and provide a detailed report of our findings,” said Weitz. “We can also make recommendations about abatement, if necessary, and are available for follow up testing following remediation. Our goal is to help our clients understand and correct an asbestos issue from start to finish. No job is too big or too small—particularly when a family’s health is at stake.”

Make sure your home is safe for you and your family. Test today.

There has been a 300% increase in patients diagnosed with asthma over the past 20 years. (USA Weekend)

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