Never Underestimate the Dangers of Asbestos

Asbestos Removal Sign

We’ve previously mentioned how important it is to get a licensed and professional abatement company to take care of your asbestos removal. What’s also important in this process is making sure that any contractors you hire to do renovations do the same. You are entrusting them with your home and your safety, and it is their obligation to make sure that they are doing everything by the book.

This week, a contractor in Pittsford, New York, was tried in federal court for ignoring mandated safety measures regarding asbestos removal. This contractor was supervising a renovation project, and when he came upon asbestos in the building’s basement he decided not to hire a licensed abatement specialist.

Instead, he hired an unlicensed independent contractor to remove friable asbestos piping wrap. Friable asbestos is the most dangerous form of asbestos and can be crumbled easily, releasing fibers into the air – a serious health risk.

The inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers is what can lead to a variety of very severe illnesses. One of those illnesses is mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that has no cure.

So as you can see, hiring an unlicensed contractor poses a problem as there are several very important steps to proper abatement mandated by OSHA and without hiring a licensed removal company; there is no way to know for sure what was done to code. There are guidelines set up for classification of removal, application of standard labeling requirements, glove bag use, and High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters for vacuum cleaning equipment.

There are a lot of policies and procedures in place for good reason, and many relate to friable asbestos. That’s because once asbestos fibers enter your lungs, they sit there wreaking silent havoc from anywhere from 20 to 50 years before you start feeling and experiencing the side effects or before the damage from the fibers shows up on a chest X-ray.

If you could avoid this, why wouldn’t you?

The Pittsford contractor pled guilty and is currently awaiting sentencing. The biggest thing we hope you take away from this blog is to do your research when hiring someone to do work on your property and be sure that licensed professionals are used when abatement is necessary. As you’ve read, the consequences can be dire.

Do you have a similar story to share?


Nadia Persaud joined the Mesothelioma Center in 2011 as the Social Media Community Analyst. She is excited to be spreading awareness about asbestos safety and new developments in the industry with our online community. If you have a story idea for Nadia, please email her at npersaud@asbestos.com.

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