Alpine Abatement Can Inspect Your Property For Asbestos
Since its establishment in 1988, Alpine Abatement Associates, Inc. has proudly served communities in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. With over 30 years of experience, Alpine has kept homes safe from hazardous substances. Before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instituted a partial ban on the use of asbestos in 1989, the harmful material was regularly used in the construction of households. Asbestos most commonly appears in insulation for older homes. The order of the construction, the more likely it is that asbestos is present. If your property is an older construction, particularly if it is from the 1970’s or before, and you plan on remodeling, demolishing, or adding new construction, it's essential to have professionals inspect the property and conduct asbestos testing. It’s presence typically can not be determined without taking staples for testing.
The Asbestos Testing Process
The asbestos testing process starts with contacting our experienced inspectors. The testing experts at Alpine are AHERA/EPA certified to conduct inspections. Then samples will be taken from possible sources of contamination, as determined by our inspectors, then sent to a lab for testing. If any asbestos is detected, proper asbestos abatement services must be performed.
Meeting Asbestos Testing Regulation & Compliance
Alpine Abatement is proactive in meeting all mandated regulations and compliance measurements needed to engage in asbestos project throughout the Pacific NW. Efforts to preserve the environment—our air, water, land and climate—are made possible in large part thanks to the agencies that monitor and regulate how asbestos is removed and disposed. Each asbestos project completed by Alpine Abatement specifically adheres to all State specific regulations and compliance. Ultimately this ensures that your asbestos project will be completed in a safe, documented and regulated manner. Because even the smallest amount poses a health risk, asbestos testing and abatement are highly regulated. Alpine is an accredited asbestos inspector and contractor, meaning we can evaluate and test for contamination and conduct abatement services to remove the materials safely. We conduct all of our services according to regulations from:
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber found in certain types of rock formations in many locations throughout the world. Asbestos can take the form of long, thin, separable fibers. Most asbestos used in the U.S. was imported from mines in Canada, China, and Africa. A smaller amount of asbestos was mined from locations in the U.S. When milled for various applications asbestos is a very small fiber, about 5 microns, they can not be seen by the naked eye. The small fiber looking objects you may see when you tear a piece of linoleum paper backing is not asbestos fibers, they are supporting binders, those supporting binders you see are like the size of a 10-foot diameter redwood tree, the asbestos fibers inside the supporting binder would be the size of a needle. Clearly not visible. Asbestos can only be positively identified with a microscope, specific preparation techniques, and training in identifying asbestos fibers from other fibers that look similar. There is only one way to positively identify asbestos, and that is specially trained persons with special microscopes that test for asbestos.
There Are Two Major Groups of Asbestos
The major difference between serpentine and amphiboles is related to their chemical composition, acid-resistant properties, and their effects on human health. Chrysotile asbestos does not persist in the lungs after inhalation; it is quickly eliminated by the body. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of chrysotile fibers is required for the clinical manifestation of pulmonary damage to appear. In the past, such high exposures were frequent; it is no longer the case today. Today, chrysotile is the only asbestos fiber commercialized, and still imported into the US. A trip to your local hardware store will demonstrate the continued use of asbestos, go to the area with roof patching material, and read the ingredients. Amphibole asbestos, on the other hand, because of their toxicity and their high bio-persistence, are mainly responsible for mesothelioma and pulmonary diseases even caused after a short or moderate exposure. Asbestos was used extensively in the past in building materials for its thermal insulating properties, and fire resistance. It was also used in industrial products, and automotive parts and components because of its strengthening properties. Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard and is highly regulated by OSHA, EPA, and many state and local agencies. These agencies' regulations were created to reduce asbestos exposure.
Where Was Asbestos Used?
People have used asbestos for a long time. One of its earliest known usages was in Egypt. The queen would amuse guests by tossing an asbestos woven table cloth into the fireplace. The table cloth would not burn but all the food and drink stains would disappear leaving the table cloth like new. Today most products made do not contain asbestos. Those few products which still contain asbestos that could be inhaled are required to be labeled as such. However, until the 1980s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in buildings contained asbestos.
Asbestos Health Risks
There are no health threats when asbestos-containing building materials remain undisturbed and do not become airborne. Asbestos-containing floor tile is a good example of a building material that is not a health hazard when in good condition. Normal wear will not release fibers, in fact, you would have to burn, grind, or use extreme mechanical methods to release enough fibers to be a health concern. On the other hand, popcorn ceiling texture can easily become airborne. If you simply rub your hand over the surface you will cause a release of fibers. All asbestos-related diseases have a long latency period, that is, it takes 20 to 40 years for the first symptoms to appear. Given the poor work conditions of the past, the widespread use of amphiboles up until the 70's, and this long latency period, it is not surprising that new cases of the asbestos-related disease continue to be observed. But this has nothing to do with today’s products containing only chrysotile and work conditions. Uncontrolled work conditions, work with friable insulation materials and the extensive use of amphibole asbestos fibers in the past have resulted in asbestos-related disease. But times have changed: the types of fibers and products used are different, and dust control technology has evolved. Today, amphiboles are no longer used, the use of low-density friable insulation materials has been banned, and exposure limits for chrysotile are hundreds of times lower than past worker exposures. Even if these friable products containing chrysotile are present in many commercial buildings, mostly in Europe and North America, removal of asbestos insulation should be considered a measure of last resort and undertaken only when the material is beyond repair or at the time of major renovation work or building demolition. Hasty elimination of asbestos insulation considerably increases the probability that controls will not be adequately enforced, thus presenting a source of risk not only for the workers but for building occupants as well.
An estimated 1.3 million employees in construction and general industry face significant asbestos exposure on the job. Heaviest exposures occur in the construction industry, particularly during the removal of asbestos during renovation or demolition. Employees are also likely to be exposed during the manufacture of asbestos products (such as textiles, friction products, insulation, and other building materials) and during automotive brake and clutch repair work. Asbestos workers have increased chances of getting two principal types of cancer: cancer of the lung tissue itself and mesothelioma, a cancer of the thin membrane that surrounds the lung and other internal organs. These diseases do not develop immediately following exposure to asbestos but appear only after a number of years. The following documents describe the health hazards of asbestos and how to recognize them. From studies of people who were exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards, we know that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of:
Lung cancer, Many forms of lung cancer
Mesothelioma, cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity
Asbestoses, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue
The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increases with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is also greater if you smoke. People who get asbestoses have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos. Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop these health problems. However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibers can remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of disease. Asbestos material that would crumble easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is more likely to create a health hazard.
Most health information on asbestos exposure has been derived from studies of workers who have been exposed to asbestos in the course of their occupation. Asbestos fiber concentrations for these workers were many times higher than those encountered by the general public. Because asbestos fibers are naturally occurring and extremely aerodynamic, virtually everyone is exposed to asbestos. To be a significant health concern, asbestos fibers must be inhaled at high concentrations over an extended period of time. Asbestos fibers then accumulate in the lungs. As exposure increases, the risk of disease also increases. Therefore, measures to minimize exposure and consequently minimize the accumulation of fibers will reduce the risk of adverse health effects. Asbestos is only dangerous if it becomes airborne. As long as asbestos-containing materials are not damaged, the asbestos fibers do not become airborne and do not pose a health threat to the building occupants. During an asbestos building survey, inspectors assess the condition of asbestos-containing materials. These conditions do deteriorate over time. If you find that an asbestos-containing item has been damaged, please contact our office for a hazard assessment.
As asbestos fibers accumulate in the lungs, several types of diseases may occur. Asbestosis is a scarring of the lung tissue. This scarring impairs the elasticity of the lung and hampers its ability to exchange gases. This leads to inadequate oxygen intake to the blood. Asbestosis restricts breathing leading to decreased lung volume and increased resistance in the airways. It is a slowly progressive disease with a latency period of 15 to 30 years. The next type of disease attributed to asbestos exposure is Mesothelioma. It is a cancer of the pleural lining. It is considered to be exclusively related to asbestos exposure. By the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal. Similar to other asbestos-related diseases, mesothelioma has a long latency period of 30 to 40 years. Lung Cancer is a malignant tumor of the bronchi covering. The tumor grows through surrounding tissue, invading and often obstructing air passages. The time between exposure to asbestos and the occurrence of lung cancer is 20 to 30 years. It should be noted that there is a synergistic effect between smoking and asbestos exposure, which creates an extreme susceptibility to lung cancer.
Alpine Abatement is a licensed asbestos contractor serving Oregon, Idaho, and Washington.
Areas we service
Serving Oregon and surrounding areas.