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Asbestos samples were positive. Now what?

asbestos samples positive; cartoon of asbestos in old buildings

So you just bought your new home or are conducting renovations in your property and you discover a material that you suspect is asbestos-containing. You decide to have the material tested by a licensed inspector and when the samples come back positive, you discover it is in fact asbestos. Now the decision comes of what to do with it.

The first option is leaving the material alone. If the material is in good condition and it will not be disturbed by renovation activities it is acceptable to leave the material in place. There is a minimal health risk if the asbestos-containing material is left undisturbed. However, if the material is damaged or at risk of disturbance other options must be pursued.

When dealing with damaged asbestos-containing materials, there are two options you may choose. Either encapsulating the material or removal. Asbestos abatement is an expensive option which many homeowners may not be able to do. Instead encapsulating can prevent the asbestos fibers from becoming airborne by placing a sealant or barrier on the material and is cheaper than removal. One example of this for floor tiles would include placing a sealant or barrier over the tiles instead of abatement. However, in a situation where the material has to be removed due to renovation we recommend having it properly abated and removed by a licensed abatement company. Never attempt to remove or repair asbestos-containing materials without a licensed professional as this may lead to asbestos exposure and potentially contaminating the area of removal.

Ian Cull

Ian Cull is a nationally recognized expert in the field of indoor air quality. He is the Chief Science Officer of Indoor Science, a company he started in 2004. He speaks around the world on air quality topics and is a training provider of the Indoor Air Quality Association. Mr. Cull is a Licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). His degree is in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign. Mr. Cull has developed 50 air quality related courses for the IAQA University and is the author of the book, “Fundamentals of Mold Remediation”. In his words… “Besides being passionate about indoor air quality, I enjoy cycling, music, the Chicago Bulls, and having fun with my three kids.”