What is asbestos and why is it dangerous?

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals that have been widely used in the construction industry for their fire-resistant, insulating, and durable properties. Examples of common materials that can contain asbestos today include: vinyl floor tiles with associated flooring mastics, joint compound or “sheetrock mud”, ceiling and wall texture, asphalt roofing materials, tar-based vapor barriers, spray-applied fireproofing, window glazing, cement board siding (Transite), various types of thermal systems insulation, and many others.

Asbestos poses a serious health hazard to anyone who inhales microscopic fibers. Typically, this occurs when a building material which contains asbestos has been disturbed during renovation or demolition activities within buildings. Without proper respiratory protection, these fibers can lodge in the lungs and cause various diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the chest and abdomen. Federal agencies have set acceptable “exposure” limits to the hazardous fiber, but there are no “safe” levels of asbestos exposure. Asbestos-related diseases can take decades to develop and have no cure. According to the World Health Organization, asbestos kills more than 100,000 people every year worldwide.

Why do you need asbestos inspections before renovation or demolition activities Texas?

If you are planning to renovate or demolish a public access building in Texas (essentially most structures excluding a single-family residence), you will need to have it inspected by a Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) licensed asbestos inspector. Asbestos inspections are required by federal, state, and local laws, and failure to comply can result in fines and penalties, as well as legal liability for damages or injuries caused by asbestos exposure. This is not only for your own safety, but also for the safety of your workers, contractors, and neighbors.

If you have any concerns about asbestos within your building or if you are held up at city permitting, please give ESE Partners a call. Our Building Science staff has more than 50 years of combined experience with dealing with asbestos inspections and the subsequent removal of the hazardous mineral.