Even though we have a greater understanding of the risks that asbestos pose, around 125 million workers are still exposed to it globally.
With the severity of health risks and the potential legal liability that your business could face from exposing workers, it’s important to get asbestos remediation as soon as you believe there’s a problem.
Read on to learn what asbestos is, some of the issues it can cause, and why your business should hire a professional team to test for and remove it today.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. It’s a mineral that occurs naturally and has a resistance to heat, electricity, and corrosion. It’s used in insulation and for decades was in almost every house in America. These fibers are very useful, but they are also toxic to humans.
There are two types of asbestos, each defined generally by their shape. Amphibole is straight and contains five types: crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite.
Serpentine has a curly shape and only contain one type, Chrysotile.
You can find large deposits of asbestos all over the world, but the main exporters are Asian countries such as Russia and Kazakhstan. North America used to be a large source of asbestos mining, but due to the increased knowledge of the substance’s health effects, there are no longer any mines in America. The last KCAC mine in the Coalinga asbestos district was the last mine to remain open, and it ceased operations in 2002.
When you inhale or ingest asbestos, it causes the tiny mineral fibers to enter your body and stay. Over time, it builds up and causes several issues, including genetic damage. It’s also the cause of mesothelioma, a rare but extremely dangerous form of cancer that’s aggressive and difficult to treat.
Certain occupations and behaviors can increase someone’s chances of exposure to asbestos and its negative health effects.
High-Risk Behaviors and Occupations For Asbestos
While any exposure is bad, the severity of health effects often depends on the intensity and length of the exposure.
While exposure is still a risk, most of it occurred between 1940 and 1980. Over those four decades, an estimated 27 million workers had heavy exposure to airborne asbestos.
When you factor in second-hand exposure, which occurs when you work or live near someone who handles the material, the actual number is probably higher. In some cases, it can take up to 50 years to experience the effects of asbestos, and in many people, it goes unnoticed. There’s a good chance that we have yet to discover many of the cases.
Someone who mined asbestos may come home and expose their family through their laundry or through the fibers being on the person’s clothes or body. Anyone working in the same office space as those people would also be at risk, making the 27 million number a low estimate.
Even With New Regulations, The Threat is Still Present
Because of regulations, the risk of asbestos exposure has decreased, but there are still some high-risk occupations. Construction workers, firefighters, miners, those that work in shipping, and similar industries still could come into contact with it.
Military personnel are also at high risk for exposure. Many older military buildings used the substance, and soldiers in other countries also run the risk of staying in asbestos-filled buildings. Those that serve overseas could also face exposure from the destruction of buildings, which releases the threads into the air.
If you live or own a building in an area that’s historically been a mining spot for asbestos, you shouldn’t disturb soil until you have asbestos testing done. Fibers can sit dormant in the soil until it’s disturbed. Once that happens and gets released into the air, you could breathe it in and face exposure.
Emergency personnel also face high risks. During the September 11th attacks, clouds of smoke containing asbestos and other contaminants led to severe health problems for first responders and survivors.
Asbestos is still a dangerous substance. Even though we’ve made great strides towards protecting people, caution is still the best way to protect yourself and others.
Why You Need To Contact Asbestos Removal Companies
All this is to show that there is still a very real risk for exposure. If you work in a high-risk industry, you need to take every precaution necessary to limit your exposure. If you own a building or home, you need to have an asbestos inspection performed by a professional asbestos remediation company. An asbestos survey may be necessary/required by a licensed professional prior to disturbing or performing demolition on all residential or commercial work.
Hiring a professional company comes with several benefits. Now that you have a better understanding of the scope of the problem, let’s look at the true value of asbestos remediation.
Asbestos Remediation Helps Keep People Safe
We’ve talked about the health risks that asbestos poses, but we haven’t gone into details about how damaging it can be to someone’s health.
As mentioned before, people breathe asbestos into their lungs without realizing it. Since the body has no way of getting rid of it, there’s a building effect that can lead to destructive results.
Even though its production was banned in 1978, companies were still allowed to use their existing stock. Any buildings or homes built before 1986 needs asbestos testing to make sure they aren’t putting their inhabitants at risk.
There are three primary health risks associated with the material:
Asbestosis - The scarring of lungs due to breathing in fibers
Lung Cancer - The risk of developing lung cancer increases in smokers that breathe in asbestosis, although exposure still increases the chances of developing the disease.
Mesothelioma - An aggressive form of cancer that’s difficult to treat and that can cause severe symptoms in a short amount of time once it develops.
Professional asbestos removal companies can test for the presence of asbestos and let you know whether you have a problem. If there is, they can come in and develop a plan to remove the problem in a way that keeps the people in your building safe.
Professional Removal Can Protect You From Legal Liability
You’ve probably seen the commercials that feature lawyers asking people to call them if they’ve received a mesothelioma diagnosis. These lawyers look for people exposed to asbestos so that they can add them to class action lawsuits.
These lawsuits have smaller payouts for each person involved but can be a very expensive process for your business. These cases can reach millions of dollars and can take years to settle.
Even if you have a small building and the tenants decide to sue for asbestos exposure, you could face an expensive lawsuit.
There are two things you can do to remedy the situation. The first is to have your tenants sign paperwork that acknowledges the possibility of asbestos. They’ll agree that you aren’t responsible for any issues and sign away their right to sue.
The problem with this approach is that most people aren’t going to move into your building or rent office space there if they’re worried about asbestos. Even if they do sign the paperwork, you’ll still have to show that you attempted to shield them from exposure. If you take any actions that a court could deem irresponsible, your agreement with your tenants might not stand up in a lawsuit.
The smarter approach is to get rid of the problem altogether. First, you’ll need an asbestos inspection to see if your building is safe. Professional asbestos removal companies can come in and get rid of it in your building so that you don’t have to worry about liability issues.
Keeping Up With Local Regulations
Depending on where you live, your city or county could have strict regulations about asbestos and the materials in your building.
While some people think that they can get away with hiding from these regulations, the government will find out. When this happens, you could find yourself facing fines retroactively. You’ll have to pay for the time between the passing of the regulation and them discovering your asbestos.
They could also shut your building down and in some cases force you to pay for the relocation of tenets. If your city or county has regulations about asbestos, they will make it so that the penalties are more expensive than the price you’ll pay for remediation. Contact a professional today so that you don’t have to worry about it. You’ll save money later by fixing the problem today.
Professionals Have The Tools and Expertise Needed
Asbestos removal is not something that you can DIY or hire a general contractor to do. Proper removal is hard work that requires special tools and knowledge.
Asbestos is easy to disturb. The simple act of moving it can cause a cloud of particles to get into the air and put you and anyone else in and around the building at risk. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can put yourself and dozens of other people at risk.
You also need special supplies when dealing with asbestos. As mentioned earlier, there are many cases in which people come into contact with it through particles on family members’ clothing and skin. By trying to DIY the problem, you put everyone around you at risk.
You should always bring in experts that know how to handle asbestos. They have the safety gear needed to keep themselves and everyone around them safe. They also know how to remove asbestos without spreading it through the building. These companies keep up with new standards and practices to ensure safety and building stability.
They’ll also inspect every part of your building and remove all of it. Finding asbestos in one area of your building means that there’s probably more throughout the structure. Professionals know where to look and how to detect asbestos.
Professional removal companies will also work fast to get your building up to code. Trying to get rid of asbestos is a time-consuming process if you don’t know what you’re doing. A professional company will test your space, develop a plan, and get to work in as short a time frame as possible.
One thing many people don’t think of when considering asbestos removal cost is what happens once it’s removed.
You can’t throw asbestos in a regular dumpster or take it into the backyard and burn it. The government has specific measures that someone must take during disposal to minimize exposure and limit the impact on the environment.
When you hire a professional company, you don’t have to worry about what happens after the removal. The company you hire will make sure that it’s disposed of in a safe and effective way that follows any local regulations in place.
You’re Protected Through Liability Insurance
If you decide to DIY asbestos remediation (it bears repeating that this is a terrible idea) or hire an independent person, you’re putting yourself at risk from a liability standpoint.
If you or a contractor make a mistake that damages your building or hurts someone, you’re responsible for that. It’s always safer to leave it to professionals that have the proper insurance and licenses.
When you use a reputable professional company, you can rest easy knowing that if something goes wrong you’re covered. You won’t have to worry about legal action for anything that goes wrong on the job site.
Choosing The Right Asbestos Remediation Company
Now that we’ve covered what asbestos is, the effects that it can cause, and the reasons that removal is worth the cost, the next question is why you should choose HCI.
HCi Environmental and Engineering Hazmat Team offers one solution for all your environmental needs. HCI served hundreds of clients in Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona. Let’s look at the reasons why you should choose us for your asbestos abatement and removal needs.
HCI Can Handle All Your Environmental Needs
Depending on the type of building that you need services for, you may need several types of services. HCI offers everything that you need so that instead of dealing with several companies, you can deal with only one0.
For example, if you’re a local law enforcement agency with an aging building, you may need asbestos testing, abatement, and removal. While HCI is working with you, they can also discuss their other services so that you can get everything you need from one provider. You won’t have to deal with multiple phone calls, invoices, and inspections to get everything you need.
They can remove asbestos, lead, and mold and also maintaining your shooting range. They can handle chemical spills and OSHA training to help you train your team, keeping them safe both in and outside of the building.
When you work with a business that can meet all your needs, you’re able to focus on other important parts of your organization. HCI can come in, do a full inspection of your business, and tell you exactly what you need and how they can help. If they’re in the middle of mold removal and find asbestos, they can inform you and remove it as well so that you don’t have to call in a second company. It’s a fast, affordable, and efficient process.
A Focus On Service
Their mission is to treat every job site with respect and safety. Whether they’re performing routine services for a small business or a full suite of services for a large government agency, their approach is always the same. HCI will work with their clients to deliver world-class results in the safest manner possible.
HCI Environmental believes in open communication with clients. When they arrive at your site, they will evaluate the situation and let you know what issues they’ve uncovered. HCI will then work with you to develop a plan of action. They will give you an estimated timeline for the services and a price estimate.
Anytime you’re dealing with environmental services, there’s a chance that something unexpected will happen. HCI Environmental may find mold growing in your building while removing asbestos, for example. If so, they’ll inform you, give you the information you need to make an informed decision, and if you choose, remove that as well.
HCI will never perform work that you don’t sign off on and you’ll never get a surprise bill from them. They believe that their customers have a right to make informed decisions and will educate you on your options.
Experience and Training
They have worked with large corporations, school districts, city governments, and small businesses throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada. HCI has performed a wide range of services for clients and are proud of their record of success.
HCI is able to perform world-class service because of their training programs and a passion for learning. They stay informed of best practices and new methods so that they can deliver the best possible service for their customers.
They’re able to perform a wide range of environmental services in a fast and efficient manner because of their experience. HCI can quickly identify issues and work out a plan to remedy the situation, saving their clients money and time.
It’s important to note that many of the issues HCI deals with are time-sensitive. Asbestos and mold are two examples of problems that can quickly get out of control if not handled correctly when you first notice them. Calling HCI as soon as you notice a problem will save you time and money.
Fully Licensed and Insured
As mentioned before, if you try to DIY a problem or hire an independent contractor that isn’t insured and licensed, you’re putting yourself at risk from both a health and financial standpoint.
HCI Environmental is fully licensed in the states that they work in, meaning that they have met their requirements for quality, knowledge, and experience. When you work with someone who isn’t licensed, you run the risk of them doing half the job and then leaving without having any opportunity for recourse. HCI will never leave a job half-finished and have the references and licensing to prove it.
If a contractor or company doesn’t have liability insurance, you run the risk of being held liable if there’s an issue on your property. HCI takes full responsibility for their work. If something happens on the job site, you can rest easy knowing that their liability insurance protects both parties.
You should never work with a business that isn’t willing to show you their licensing and insurance information. HCI puts that information directly on their website for everyone to see.
You can see their licensing for the various types of work they perform, insurance information, and training certificates. HCI Environmental believes that their clients should have all the information they need to make an informed decision, which is why HCI makes this information easy to find on their website.
Call in the Professionals For Asbestos Remediation Today!
If you have an older building that hasn’t undergone asbestos testing, it’s imperative to have it done as soon as possible. It’s a safety hazard that could lead to legal liability down the road if you don’t take proper precautions now.
Once you contact HCI, they’ll evaluate your situation and develop a plan for testing, remediation, asbestos abatement, and anything else you may need to keep everyone safe and bring your building up to code.
They work with you to limit any disruption and can also offer regular testing and services for other environmental needs, such as mold and lead remediation. HCI has worked with city governments, schools, law enforcement agencies, and private businesses, so they have a deep understanding of their customer’s unique needs.
Contact them today to learn more about how they can meet your environmental service and asbestos remediation needs.