Asbestos in your condo?
Asbestos was used in almost every public and commercial building constructed before the 1980’s in the United States. As a fireproofing material, it was applied on steel beams and columns during construction of multistory buildings. Because of its strength, asbestos was added to concrete, asphalt, vinyl materials in roof shingles, pipes, siding, wall board, floor tiles, joint compounds and adhesives. Its heat-resistant qualities made asbestos the perfect thermal insulation. The material was also used in acoustical plaster and as a component of a mixture sprayed on ceilings and walls. In short, it was the miracle material of the building industry.
However, asbestos becomes a hazard when it is damaged, crumbles, or is in a state of disrepair. It then poses a health risk to building occupants, repairmen, and maintenance workers because asbestos fibers may be released into the air. The risk is even greater if the building is demolished, renovated, or remodeled. These buildings must be inspected by a State licensed asbestos inspector to determine the presence or absence of asbestos. Because of the serious problems associated with asbestos exposure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emphasizes that asbestos in buildings should be located and appropriately managed and requires that workers who disturb asbestos be specially trained as well licensed for removal and proper disposal.
The biggest problem is that we have a misconception amongst building owners and managers, in thinking that just because their building was built after 1980, it does not contain asbestos. While the United States prohibits the use of asbestos in building materials manufactured in the United States, they still allow products from abroad to enter our country and be sold in our markets. Consequently, many building products, used in the construction of even the newest of buildings, contain unsafe levels of asbestos; therefore, we highly recommend an asbestos survey to be conducted prior to any renovations so the association and owners are aware of any asbestos containing materials. Asbestos is federally regulated, and very large fines will be imposed if its not handled properly due to the health hazard. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and it can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Building owners and those in charge of asbestos removal must notify state and local agencies and EPA offices before demolition or renovation activity begins. Asbestos is a reality in South Florida as our buildings continue to age and approach the 40-year recertification milestone.
If you need assistance in handling asbestos, please contact our sponsor at (305)661-2533 or info@WRGFLA.com