FAQ for Asbestos, Lead, and Mold

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Asbestos

What is Asbestos

It is the name of a group of natural mineral that are used in fire-resistant and insulating materials

What is Friable Asbestos (ACM)

Friable ACM (Asbestos Containing Material) is any material that contains more than one percent asbestos by weight or area, depending on whether it is a bulk or sheet material and can be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by the pressure of an ordinary human hand.

How do I know if I have asbestos in my home?

As asbestos is a fibrous mineral, you cannot determine if a material contains asbestos. In order to determine the presence of asbestos is with a NVLAP accredited laboratory. The most common method to test for asbestos is with a Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM). Certified Asbestos Consultant’s (CAC) can base their judgement on the likelihood of a site to contain asbestos, but cannot assume something to be asbestos clear without a lab sample.

There is asbestos in my home. What should I do?

First, it should be noted that asbestos can be found in most homes. Second, Asbestos is most dangerous when it is inhaled. If the asbestos is intact and non-friable (can not be pulverized, broken, or destroyed by hand pressure) then it is fine.

If the Asbestos is intact and non-friable, then you have the following options.

  • Leave it alone. Removal when it isn’t required can potentially expose the area around it to friable Asbestos.
  • Enclosure: You can build around or prevent access to the site of asbestos (as long as the asbestos is intact). This can be a cheap option but the asbestos is still there.
  • Removal: The most expensive of the option, but it deals with the problem at hand. If you plan on removing asbestos, be sure to get it done by a certified Abatement company (Due to conflict of Interest, Home Biotesting does not provide Abatement, only testing).

If the asbestos is friable and in a public area, then it is recommended to remove it to prevent the possibility of an exposure.

Lead-Paint

What is Lead-Paint

Lead Paint is paint that contains lead.

How do I know if I have Lead-Paint in my home?

You cannot determine if you have Lead Paint simply by looking at it. In order to determine if you have lead paint, you need a professional lead inspector/assessor to investigate. The lead professional will either be able to collect paint-chip samples or analyze using an XRF.

There is Lead-Paint in my home. What should I do?

If you have lead paint in your home, you have the following options:

  • Leave it alone – This is an option but highly not recommended. If the home is up for demolition then it is mandatory. If you sell the home or lease it to new tenants, you are required by law to disclose it the new occupant. There is more headaches and regulation by keeping lead paint rather than to simply remove it.
  • Hire an abatement company – I don’t even list do it yourself as an option. Lead paint is dangerous and removing it will cause exposure. Hire professionals to get the job done correctly, and to minimize lead exposure.

Mold

What is Mold

Mold is a multicellular fungus. As a fungus, it is made up of eukaryotic cells, separating it from prokaryotes (bacteria). Mold only requires a few necessities to thrive which consists of moisture, and a food source. For more information on Mold, please see our Mold information page under our resource page.

How do I know if I have Mold in my home?

There are several methods to determine the presence of mold:

  • Visual – If you see it, then it is there
  • Smell – Smell is a sign that mold or mildew exist in your home.
  • Leak Detection – As mold grows in water or moist environment, a leak detection will help identify the location of the mold
  • Air Sampling – Air exposure can determine the increase spore count in an area home. This will help determine the presence of hidden mold

It should be noted that mold spores and mold could almost be found anywhere. It usually isn’t a problem as long as you make sure it isn’t over populating a certain area.

There is Mold in my home. What should I do?

If you have mold in your home, then you have several options:

  • Leave it alone – Mold is natural and if it is in an area that you cannot reach or control, you always have the option to just leave it alone. This isn’t recommended as the problem still exists and could lead to allergic responses to the occupants of the area.
  • Clean it – If the mold is small enough, and in an accessible area, you have the option of cleaning it yourself. It is recommended that you bleach at the minimum. This isn’t a recommended method as improper cleaning will only slow down the growth of mold versus eliminating it.
  • Hire a mold abatement company – The safest approach is to hire a mold abatement company. This may be the costlier method but it is the most effective and safest. It is also important to check for leaks, as failure to control a moisture problem would only result with the mold coming back.