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Local Demolition Contractors: Handling Unforeseen Environmental Issues

The Egyptian pyramids may have been built to last forever, but modern buildings were not.

A modern brick house will only last about 120 years, while a steel and glass building will pass its expiry date after 60 years. Our descendants will never marvel at our architecture.

The result is that hundreds of thousands of buildings need demolishing every year. This is a dangerous job that requires skilled, local demolition contractors.

Bringing down buildings creates massive amounts of waste. It can also lead to unforeseen environmental issues.

This article will examine some environmental concerns that can arise during a California demolition.

Waste From Local Demolition Site

Waste from construction and demolition sites makes up a large amount of all solid waste that humans produce. In 2018 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that 600 million tons of waste came from construction and demolition.

More than 90 percent of this is from demolition.

This waste includes:

  • Building materials

  • Concrete

  • Metal

  • Glass

  • Insulation

  • Wood

If left too long at a demolition site, these items can release toxins into the water and the earth which pose a danger to public health.

Demolition work can also lead to a lot of dust that can irritate people living nearby. Dust particles can cause respiratory problems and unpleasant allergy symptoms.

The best California demolition contractors will offer various disposal services. Recycling is becoming a popular method of disposing of demolition waste to reduce environmental damage. Glass, steel, metal, and concrete are good candidates for recycling.

Your local demolition contractors may also recommend incineration of some waste from the site.

Presence of Asbestos

Sometimes, during a demolition project, it may become apparent that hazardous materials are present in the building. Decades ago, environmental issues during construction were not as big of a concern as they are now.

In addition, there may not have been information available about the danger of some materials.

A common culprit is asbestos. An estimated 25 million homes in the United States still contain asbestos in insulation, pipes, walls, and flooring.

Asbestos is a selection of natural fibrous minerals. In the 19th century, people discovered it was inexpensive and excellent for resisting corrosion, heat, and electricity. Asbestos was an amazing discovery for the construction industry, and for over 100 years, they used the mineral to build houses.

However, in recent decades, it has become clear that the fibers of this mineral, when you inhale them, are toxic and deadly. When you breathe in asbestos, you can get lung cancer as well as ovary, stomach, and colorectal cancers.

A common disease from asbestos exposure is mesothelioma, deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and chest.

When a house or building built before the 1980s is being demolished, there is a high chance of asbestos in the materials used to build it.

The presence of asbestos requires special tests to detect the levels of asbestos and a contractor who knows how to demolish without contaminating the site or the neighborhood.

It can also require special knowledge of asbestos disposal, which you cannot take to any landfill.

Presence of Lead

Older buildings and homes may also contain lead in paint, water pipes, furniture, and other locations.

The heavy metal is most dangerous in a run-down house, with chipping paint and other deteriorating items. The dust from lead can poison children.

Because lead is most poisonous when it breaks down, contractors face a dangerous task during a house demolition. Lead can also leak into the soil and water if demolition is not carried out with the proper care.

It is essential to hire professional local demolition contractors who will take the right precautions to prevent environmental issues from lead.

Presence of Mold

Mold is a fungus that proliferates in the presence of water damage and humidity. It is commonly found in old, run-down buildings. Sometimes, it is not visible, growing inside walls and pipes.

Some molds are harmless, while others can cause allergic reactions. You also get toxic molds such as black mold that can cause severe health problems.

Demolishing a house can send millions of fungal mold spores into the air, which can cause symptoms in residents who live nearby the demolition site.

These spores can cause irritation of the eyes, sneezing, coughing, and congestion. It can also worsen asthma and skin irritation.

When local demolition contractors find mold on a demolition site, they must carry out mold remediation. They will need to seal off contaminated areas and remove the affected materials in special bags or sheeting. Afterward, they will clean the area with designated products, such as bleach.

Demolition workers will need to wear suitable protective gear during this process.

Other Hazardous Materials

Sometimes, a building that is set to be demolished can contain a variety of unusual hazardous materials.

If there has been a violent crime  or murder, the owner of the property may decide to demolish it. This can require contractors to know how to dispose of blood and bodily fluids.

Demolition contractors often come across old abandoned buildings used to manufacture methamphetamines or fentanyl. This can leave behind traces of dangerous chemicals and toxic waste.

This waste can poison the soil and water supplies if not disposed of correctly.

Hire the Right Local Demolition Contractors

The demolition process leads to environmental hazards such as noise, pollution, and waste. However, there are sometimes unexpected toxins you can find on the site.

Contact us if you are looking for demolition contractors with experience in handling all waste products.

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