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Asbestos FAQ

  • What is Asbestos?

    • Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring silicate minerals that occurs in rock and soil. Mined and milled from native rock, asbestos is fibrous, thin, and strong. Has important industrial characteristics which make it desirable. It is heat resistance, chemical inertness, and has good insulating capacity, coupled with the flexibility to be woven make asbestos suitable for use in many industrial applications.

  • What materials in my home, building, apartment or school may contain asbestos?

    • Vinyl floor tiles, backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives

    • Ceiling tiles and adhesives

    • Roofing and siding shingles and flashings

    • Hot water and steam pipe insulation, coatings, tapes and mastics

    • Textured paint and patching compounds used on walls and ceilings

    • Attic and wall insulation produced containing vermiculite

    • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets

    • Furnaces and boilers, including door gaskets

    • HVAC vibration isolation materials and duct sealant

    • Heat-resistant fabrics

    • Automobile clutches and brakes

 * Note: This is a list of common materials, not a comprehensive list of materials that could contain asbestos.

  • How do I know if I have asbestos in my home? (floor tile, ceiling tile, shingles, siding, etc.)

    • The only way to be sure whether a material contains asbestos is to have it tested by a qualified laboratory. EPA only recommends testing suspect materials if they are damaged (fraying, crumbling) or if you are planning a renovation or demolition that would disturb the suspect material. Samples should be taken by a properly trained and accredited asbestos professional (inspector).

  • Should I have my home or building inspected for asbestos prior to remodel, repairs or demolition?

    • Asbestos might be present in many products and materials throughout a home or business. Before you remodel, conduct repairs, or perform demolition activities, you should determine whether the materials that are going to be impacted contain asbestos.

    • In your home it is recommended that a currently accredited Asbestos Inspector be contacted for consultation prior to impact of building materials. This help will ensure your safety and help prevent contamination to your property.

    • Contractors performing renovation, remodeling, demolition and/or repairs in your home or business are obligated to follow all local, state & federal regulations, which typically require an accredited Asbestos Inspector consultation and work area survey.

  • What are the health risks if I have asbestos in my home, building, apartment, or school?

    • Asbestos in good condition and left undisturbed is unlikely to present a health risk. The risks from asbestos occur when it is damaged or disturbed where asbestos fibers become airborne and can be inhaled. Managing asbestos in place and maintaining it in good repair can often be the best approach.

  • What is the difference between Abatement & Remediation?

    • Abatement is the removal of a contaminant from a site or encapsulating so it no longer poses a risk.

    • Remediation resolves the underlying cause of contamination to prevent future occurrence, which can include abatement strategies.

Mold FAQ

  • What is Mold?​

    • ​Molds are part of the natural environment, and produce tiny spores to reproduce. Mold spores pass through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

  • Is all mold bad?

    • ​The vast majority of molds are not hazardous to humans; however, a few are known to be, and reaction to molds can vary significantly between individuals, some may have no reaction, others could be relatively minor, and some can be severe multi-system reactions.

  • How do I know what kind of mold I have?​

    • ​​You cannot reliably identify mold simply by looking at some photos or color charts. Some mold genera or species might be ruled "out" or "possible" but expert examination of the sample using high-powered microscopy (or another definitive method) is needed.

  • What can I do if I have mold indoors?

    • ​It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air in houses. There are many types of molds, and none of them will grow without water or moisture. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.  If there is mold growth in your home or business, you will need to clean up the mold and eliminate the source of moisture.  If you clean up the mold, but don't eliminate the moisture, most likely, the mold problem will return.

  • What is the difference between Abatement & Remediation?

    • ​Abatement is the removal of a contaminant from a site or encapsulating so it no longer poses a risk.  Remediation resolves the underlying cause of contamination to prevent future occurrence, which can include abatement strategies.


  • What Are PCBs?​

    • ​PCBs are a group of man-made organic chemicals consisting of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine atoms. The number of chlorine atoms and their location in a PCB molecule determine many of its physical and chemical properties. PCBs have no known taste or smell, and range in consistency from an oil to a waxy solid.

      PCBs belong to a broad family of man-made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. PCBs were domestically manufactured from 1929 until manufacturing was banned in 1979. They have a range of toxicity and vary in consistency from thin, light-colored liquids to yellow or black waxy solids. Due to their non-flammability, chemical stability, high boiling point and electrical insulating properties, PCBs were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications.

      Although no longer commercially produced in the United States, PCBs may be present in products and materials produced before the 1979 PCB ban. The PCBs used in these products were chemical mixtures made up of a variety of individual chlorinated biphenyl components known as congeners. Most commercial PCB mixtures are known in the United States by their industrial trade names, the most common being Arochlor.​

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