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Asbestos

DIY Remodeling Rebounds with Better Economy But Asbestos Dangers Lurk with Home Renovations

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.

Categories
Asbestos Healthy Home

Asbestos Testing: Information & FAQs

asbestos testing connecticutAsbestos Testing: Information & FAQs

Many people worry about asbestos – especially when purchasing a new home, before or during renovations, or if they live near a commercial construction site or properties that are undergoing demolition. But what do you really know about asbestos? The mere presence of asbestos is not usually a problem. Over time, however, asbestos may become damaged. When it does, it can release dangerous asbestos fibers into the air you breathe. The removal of asbestos, if not done correctly, can also pose a health threat.

Here are some answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Q. What is asbestos?asbestos removal new york

A. Asbestos is a very strong mineral fiber that was once added to many different products to strengthen them. It was also used to provide heat insulation and fire resistance. There are several types of asbestos fibers.

 

Q. Where is asbestos found?asbestos abatement

A. Asbestos can be found in roofing materials, siding shingles, insulation (homes built between 1930 – 1950), textured paint (pre-1977), patching compounds (pre-1977), walls and floors around wood-burning stoves, vinyl floor tiles and adhesives, insulation for hot water and steam pipes in older homes, and oil and coal furnaces.

 

Q. How do I know if there is asbestos in my home?

A. The only way to be sure whether a material contains asbestos is to have it tested by a qualified laboratory. The EPA recommends testing suspect materials if they are damaged (fraying, crumbling) or if you are planning a renovation that would disturb the suspect material. A properly trained and accredited asbestos inspector should take the samples.

 

Q. How can asbestos affect my health?asbestos health affect

A. Exposure to asbestos, especially airborne asbestos fibers, increases your risk of developing lung disease and cancer. Disease symptoms generally take several years – even decades – to develop following exposure. Continued exposure can increase the amount of fibers that remain in the lung. Fibers embedded in lung tissue over time may cause serious lung diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma.

 

Q. We are going to be renovating, and I’m not sure if there is asbestos in my home. Should I be concerned?

A. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for you to tell whether a material in your home contains Asbestos Renovationasbestos simply by looking at it. The EPA suggests that if you suspect a material within your home might contain asbestos (for example floor tile, ceiling tile or old pipe wrap) and the material is damaged (fraying or falling apart) or if you are planning on performing a renovation that would disturb the material, have it sampled by a properly trained and accredited asbestos professional like RTK Environmental.

 

Q. I suspect there is asbestos in my home. What should I do?

A. First and foremost, do not disturb the asbestos. It is generally not harmful until it is asbestos demolitiondisturbed and fibers are released into the air. Next, have a professional testing company come in to test for asbestos. It may be that the asbestos in your home is in good shape and does not need removal. If not, a certified, independent asbestos testing company can provide an asbestos remediation plan for you so that you and your family are safe.

 

Q. We are going to be doing demolition on our home and know we only have asbestos in one place that won’t be touched. Is it safe to go ahead with the demolition without having the house tested for asbestos?

A. Not really. A demolition could expose an asbestos problem you weren’t aware of. Also, look for signs of wear and tear in areas you know contain asbestos. But whatever you do, don’t touch it. Consider having the asbestos encapsulated to insure that the fibers will not become airborne.

Asbestos can be very dangerous, but is easily managed. Take the necessary steps to make sure you and your family is not harmed by asbestos.

 

Categories
Asbestos Healthy Home

Asbestos: How to detect and remove it in your home or business

 

How to detect and remove asbestos in your home or business

RTK’s Robert Weitz recently spoke with Expert Beacon about how to detect and remove asbestos in your home or business.  Asbestos is deadly, and may be lurking in your home, school, or office. The most dangerous fibers are too small to be visible. Once inhaled, they lodge in the lungs forever. Find out what you need to know about asbestos detection, monitoring, and removal to protect your family, employees, and yourself. He shared some very important Do’s and Don’ts.

Do
  • know what asbestos is and where it is found
  • understand how it can affect your health
  • have your home tested for asbestos before renovation or demolition
  • take proper precautions when renovating or removing asbestos
  • know your liability exposure
Don’t
  • disturb asbestos without proper safety precautions
  • do any removal without having an abatement plan
  • remove asbestos without following proper federal, state and local rules
  • ignore asbestos
  • forget to have the property inspected after renovations

If you think you may haves an asbestos problem in your home or business, call us at (800) 392-6468 or CLICK HERE.

Categories
Asbestos Flooding & Water Damage Healthy Home Indoor Air Quality & Radon Lead Mold Soil and Water

Protecting Your Home from Silent Killers

RTK’s very own Robert Weitz was recently interviewed by Connecticut for Sale. He shares great advice on Protecting Your Home From Silent Killers, including mold, lead, asbestos, and radon. CLICK HERE to read the article.

Connecticut Homes is the one of the top sites for Connecticut Homes For Sale, including Hartford CT Homes For Sale, condos, multi families, and townhouses for sale. Connecticut Homes also services Long Island NY Real Estate and New Hampshire Homes For Sale.

Categories
Asbestos Lead Mold Mold Testing

CBS TV’s Dr. Max Gomez: Hurricane Sandy Could Still Harm Your Health

CBS TV’s Dr. Max Gomez: Hurricane Sandy Could Still Harm Your Health

Almost ten months after Sandy the effects of the storm are still being felt in surprising ways. As CBS 2′s Dr. Max Gomez reported, post-hurricane health hazards could be lurking in your home. Mold stole the headlines, but not many people considered the aftermath of disturbing lead paint, asbestos, and other dangerous toxins.

RTK Environmental Group helps uncover the hidden dangers after the storm.

Categories
Asbestos Flooding & Water Damage Health Indoor Air Quality & Radon Lead Mold Mold Testing Soil and Water Testing vs. Remediation

Hurricane Sandy Information Center: RTK Environmental Group

Are you among the nearly 50 million people cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy? If you live near the coast in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, you’ve likely experienced the most significant water damage and indoor mold contamination in the region.

Here are the first steps you should take in addressing water damage and mold contamination:

 Get a proper plan together by calling RTK:

Improper demolition or renovation can not only cost you thousands more in unnecessary repairs, it can also send a host of toxins into parts of your home that were not affected, including mold spores, lead dust, and asbestos.

 

 

An independent environmental inspection from RTK will pinpoint exactly what needs to be removed, what’s salvageable, and which environmental hazards are present.

Why is “independent” important?

Because we do tests only and do not perform repairs and remediation, there is no conflict of interest when you hire RTK. RTK has been trusted and recommended for nearly 20 years.

STEP 1 CHECKLIST:

Have damage, but haven’t done anything yet? Here’s what you need to do first.

¨ Inspect the damage. Be sure to take photos and video of everything for insurance purposes.

¨ Contact FEMA and your insurance company to find out what benefits and help may be available to you.

¨ Throw away any wet materials, especially if time has passed. They are likely to have mold growth.

¨ Dry out the area completely. Use fans, vents, dehumidifiers, and open windows when possible.

¨ Call 1-800-392-6468 and have RTK, an independent testing company, pinpoint the extent of the repairs needed, and identify any health hazards like mold, lead, asbestos, and bacteria from sewage.

¨ Check for roof and window damage, which may have caused leaks and mold.

Now that you have your independent environmental test report in hand from RTK, decide whether to hire a remediation firm or do the work yourself.

We’re happy to refer you to the area’s most reputable remediation contractors. Remember: Beware of any contractor who both tests for environmental hazards and performs the repairs. It’s a conflict of interest.

STEP 2 CHECKLIST:

¨ Clean anything that was flooded with disinfectant, as there are a number of contaminants, from sewage to bacteria, which reside in floodwater. A mixture of water and bleach works best. Make sure you wear gloves, goggles, and a proper fitting mask. Warning: Never mix ammonia and bleach – it creates a toxic vapor that can be deadly.

¨ Contain work areas before you start. To prevent further contamination, cover surfaces in that area and adjacent to it with plastic sheets in order to prevent further contamination from mold spores, lead dust, or asbestos. Also, seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and in the area adjacent to it with plastic sheeting. If the area is large, a mold remediation plan is highly recommended. Exhaust fans, HEPA devices, workspace isolation, and a decontamination room will be necessary.

¨ Only a professional should perform asbestos removal.

¨ Wear the proper protective gear. A respirator, such as an N, R or P-95 or 100, is recommended. Non-vented goggles, long gloves, and protective clothing are also suggested.

¨ Remove any wet drywall and insulation.

¨ Once wet drywall and insulation are removed, you must completely dry the area out before rebuilding to avoid mold contamination.

¨ Have an RTK certified microbial investigator test the area after you’ve completed the work to ensure that you haven’t missed anything during the repair process.

¨ Keep the RTK inspection report in a safe place so you have proof of proper repair should you decide to sell your home.

¨ Call RTK Environmental Group at 800.392.6486 if you have any questions. We’re happy to help.

Note: If you’ve gutted the damage and are ready to rebuild or have already rebuilt, here are some things to consider:

 Test Before and After You Rebuild

If you rebuild before the area is completely dried out, you will be sealing mold into your walls. The mold will grow back and cause major damage.

Test your home for mold BEFORE you rebuild to make sure that the mold has been properly removed. Test your home AFTER you rebuild to be sure the job was done correctly, and was cleaned up properly.

 

Protect Yourself with Proper Documentation

An independent environmental testing company like RTK Environmental Group will provide you with a detailed report, documenting that your home is safe or is cleared to be rebuilt, and has a safe environmental toxin level (mold, lead, asbestos, radon, bacteria, and other toxins).

This documentation will be critical when you sell your home or for insurance claims. To ensure that your document will hold up in possible legal situations or in court, make sure the company that performs the testing is certified, licensed, insured, and does not perform remediation, which could result in a conflict of interest claim. Be prudent. Call RTK Environmental Group to perform the independent test.

Reselling Your Home

Sandy’s widespread damage means that future home buyers will be asking tough questions about whether your home was flooded or struck by falling trees. So, you’ll want to be able to prove via documentation that your home was properly repaired afterwards. Otherwise, doubtful purchasers might cause you to have to lower the sale price – and – you might run the risk of a potential lawsuit from the new owner who could claim that you knowingly sold them a home with post-Sandy environmental contamination like mold, lead, asbestos, and bacteria from sewage.

Future Insurance Hassles

If your home floods again and mold returns, your insurance company may question whether the mold was caused by the new event and not from Sandy. Without proof that your home was deemed mold-free after repairs were made, the insurance company might take the position that a new claim is not justified or that you have met your policy limit.

 

 

Independent Testing Companies vs. One-Stop Shops

Some companies offer mold testing on the cheap, and then conveniently offer their own remediation services to fix the problem. This is a clear conflict-of-interest, with the result that the problem is not often remediated – if it exists at all. The consumer may be paying thousands of dollars for bloated repair estimates or an improper and ineffective remediation. An independent test from RTK can save homeowners thousands!

An independent, certified testing company, like RTK Environmental, does not do remediation, and, therefore, offers consumers an unbiased opinion about any contamination. If asked, RTK will offer recommendations of reliable remediation companies.

Why Choose RTK?

– Leading Independent Environmental Testing Company

– No Conflict of Interest Policy

– Accurate and Unbiased

– 20 Years’ Experience

– Certified Microbial Investigators

– Building and Construction Backgrounds

– In-Depth Report Returned in 2-4 Days

– State-of-the-Art Equipment and Technology

– Extensive, Multi-Room Testing to Ensure Accuracy

Helpful Resources:

OSHA Fact Sheet on Sandy Mold Hazards and Cleanup

Apply for Disaster Assistance

New York City Sandy Recovery Information

New York Sandy Recovery Information

New York Sandy Unemployment & Business Services

Connecticut Sandy Recovery Information

Categories
Asbestos

The NY Islanders Found Asbestos at Home – Can It Happen to You?

The NY Islanders Found Asbestos at Home – Can It Happen to You?

In 2012, the New York Islanders found out they may be moving to a new home the next season because of lingering asbestos problems at the aging Nassau Coliseum – their home for the past 40 years. Does the age of a structure make asbestos more likely? Sure – but it’s the condition that the asbestos is in that can be dangerous.

commercial asbestos testingAsbestos exposure has been linked to the development of serious respiratory diseases and cancers, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Unfortunately, for nearly 100 years, asbestos was one of the most commonly used materials in construction, shipbuilding and manufacturing, both commercially and residentially.

So, old sports arenas are not the only places to struggle with asbestos issues. Many schools, buildings, and homes also contain asbestos. It is commonly found in insulation, cement, pipes, composites, floor tile, fireproofing material, gaskets, and coatings. If asbestos is left undisturbed, the EPA says that it is generally safe. When it is disturbed during renovation or if it is crumbling from age, dangerous particles are released into the air and can settle into your respiratory system.

What should you do if you think you have asbestos in your home or workplace?

asbestos warningFirst and foremost, do not disturb it. Immediately contact a professional testing company to come in to test for asbestos. It may be that the asbestos in your home is in good shape and does not need removal. In that event, consider having the asbestos encapsulated to insure that the fibers will not become airborne. However, if the asbestos is deteriorating, a testing company can provide you with an asbestos remediation plan to keep you and your family from harm.

Asbestos exposure has been linked to the development of serious respiratory diseases and cancers, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

Here’s the good news: Asbestos can be very dangerous, but it is easily managed. Take the necessary steps and do a test. You’ll breathe a whole lot easier!

Categories
Asbestos Flooding & Water Damage Lead Mold Soil and Water

Healthy Homes

As we stressed in our last post, testing your home for environmental toxins — lead, mold, radon, asbestos — is vital, especially if your family consists of young children or pregnant women. Hidden dangers are lurking just about everywhere. In addition to testing, you can keep your family healthy and your home safe by following these suggestions from the Children’s Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

  • Energy-efficient heating equipment lowers your monthly energy bills and, if properly sized and maintained, reduces air pollution. Be sure all ducts are tightly sealed, which experts say can lower your bills by as much as 20 percent. Be wary of any equipment older than 15 years. It might need to be replaced.
  •  Organic fruits and vegetables minimize exposure to pesticides. If you can’t afford to buy everything organic, consider buying organics from following list of the most pesticide-saturated fruits and veggies, known as the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen”: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, domestic blueberries, lettuce, and kale/collard greens. And whether it’s organic or conventional, wash all produce well before eating to reduce risk of infection.
  • Find a new home for your old electronics – computers, television, cell phones, e-readers, etc. E-cycling reduces waste and helps manage toxic chemicals. Check your state’s environmental agency for information on where to recycle old equipment.
  • Many eat fish for health reasons, but beware: Big fish, such as shark and swordfish, often contain contaminants, including metals, industrial chemicals and pesticides. Safer options include tilapia, mussels, clams and shrimp.
  • Phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA) are potentially harmful chemicals in plastics that can leak out and into our children’s bodies, negatively impacting brain development and reproduction. Choose plastics No. 1, 2, 4, and 5 for drinkware and containers. In addition, never heat plastic, especially in the microwave; wash plastic in the dishwasher; or pour warm liquids into plastic containers.
  • Water often contains lead, especially if plumbing is older than 10 years old. Test your pipes for lead. Also, run your water for a few minutes every morning or whenever it hasn’t been used for a while, and use cold water for cooking.
  • Smoking is the most common cause of indoor air pollution. Plus, secondhand smoke can cause asthma attacks, respiratory problems, and possibly cancer. So if you must smoke – and we hope you’ll consider stopping – smoke outside away from doors, windows, and vents.

We live in a world laden with pollutants, but these steps can help you keep your home pollutant-free.

 

Categories
Asbestos Lead

9/11’s toxic dust

9/11’s toxic dust

Sept. 11, 2001 has been memorialized by unforgettable images, among which were the buildings collapsing in a blanket of dust and smoke, and people rushing from the scene, covered in a white dust that we now know was toxic.

The numbers of Ground Zero workers with serious medical issues keep growing. Many are claiming the toxic dust they inhaled have caused a myriad of health issues, including cancer, asthma, persistent coughs (known among those afflicted as WTC cough), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

At the time, workers and volunteers were assured by Christie Whitman, then administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, that the air was safe to breathe. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey asked Paul Lioy, director of exposure science at Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, to collect and test samples of the dust. It turned out that the dust was a toxic cocktail of asbestos; metallic particles including lead; cement; gypsum; calcium carbonate; and glass fibers. The dust pH was highly alkaline and extremely caustic, and according to experts, caused severe medical problems for first responders and those who spent months cleaning the site.

This weekend, as we all remember and pay homage to those who lost their lives, it is also a good time to be reminded to pay more attention to the air we breathe daily. Lead dust – present in many pre-1978 built homes (the year lead paint was banned) – is poisonous to everyone, but especially children, pregnant women and pets. The list of health problems it causes is long and troublesome, including brain damage, loss of IQ, learning disability, hearing loss, nervous system and kidney damage.

Asbestos is a human carcinogen, and is linked to lung cancer, laryngeal cancers and malignant mesothelioma. Since these cancers develop 10 to 30 years after exposure, many of the 9/11 workers might be still symptom free.

If you suspect an environmental hazard might be lurking in your home, your first stop should be to have your home tested by certified inspectors. Once testing is complete and a remediation plan established, hire only contractors who are certified to remove the specific hazard.

Categories
Asbestos

Things you should know about asbestos

Things you should know about asbestos

The 411 on Asbestos

Many people worry about asbestos -especially when purchasing a new home. But what do you really know about asbestos? The mere presence of asbestos is not usually a problem. Over time, however, asbestos may become damaged. When it does, it can release dangerous asbestos fibers into the air you breathe. The removal of asbestos, if not done correctly, can also pose a health threat. Here are some answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Q. What is asbestos?

A. Asbestos is a very strong mineral fiber that was once added to many different products to strengthen them. It was also used to provide heat insulation and fire resistance. There are several types of asbestos fibers.

Q. Where is asbestos found?

A. Asbestos can be found in roofing materials, siding shingles, insulation (homes built between 1930 – 1950), textured paint (pre-1977), patching compounds (pre-1977), walls and floors around wood-burning stoves, vinyl floor tiles and adhesives, insulation for hot water and steam pipes in older homes, and oil and coal furnaces.

Q. How Can Asbestos affect my health?

A. Exposure to asbestos, especially airborne asbestos fibers, increases your risk of developing lung disease. Disease symptoms may take several years to develop following exposure. Continued exposure can increase the amount of fibers that remain in the lung. Fibers embedded in lung tissue over time may cause serious lung diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma.

Q. I suspect there is asbestos in my home. What should I do?

A. First and foremost, do not disturb the asbestos. It is generally not harmful until it is disturbed and fibers are released into the air. Next, have a professional testing company come in to test for asbestos. It may be that the asbestos in your home is in good shape and does not need removal. If not, they can provide an asbestos remediation plan for you so that you and your family are safe.

Q. I am planning on renovating my home and I know there is asbestos there. Are there any precautions I can take?

A. Once you have tested for asbestos and confirmed that it will be a problem, have any removal and repairs done by certified professionals who are specially trained in handling asbestos.

Q. We are going to be doing demolition on our home and know we only have asbestos in one place that won’t be touched asbestos. Is it safe to go ahead with the demolition without having the house tested for asbestos?

A. A demolition could expose an asbestos problem you weren’t aware of. Also, look for signs of wear and tear in areas you know contain asbestos. But whatever you do, don’t touch it. Consider having the asbestos encapsulated to insure that the fibers will not become airborne.

Asbestos can be very dangerous, but is easily managed. Take the necessary steps to make sure you and your family is not harmed by asbestos.