There is one word that can strike fear in the heart of the homeowner doing renovations: asbestos. Most people are aware that asbestos is dangerous and taking care of it if it’s present in your home can be expensive and hazardous to your health.
The majority of common knowledge ends there. When a homeowner discovers asbestos in their home, then they typically search for someone to else take care of it.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection certifies asbestos handlers in the city, so in most cases that works just fine.
New York requires these businesses to carry a hard card that denotes their certification in order to handle the materials. Due to some challenges presented by COVID, the deadline for those whose hard cards expired in March of 2020 or after was extended to April 30, 2021.
That makes finding someone to handle your asbestos issue a little easier, but the process for handling asbestos in your home can be confusing, especially if you’re worried you’ve been exposed. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a flame-retardant material used in different products. It was used throughout the 1800s all the way to the 1970s in many building materials such as tiles, pipes, sealants, shingles, and insulation.
Laws have changed since the 1970s when it comes to using asbestos to manufacture different materials, though, and they are no longer used during building.
At the same time, many old structures still have asbestos materials in place and present a danger to the health and safety of those in the building when they are disturbed.
Asbestos Testing in NYC
It’s not uncommon to find asbestos in old buildings in NYC either. It was a popular building material used because of its fireproof properties. Only later was it discovered that asbestos, when disturbed, can be inhaled into the lungs and cause health issues.
Because of these health issues, any existing building in New York that is renovated must be tested for asbestos in order to ensure the safety of everyone in the building.
In fact, even before you can apply for building permits on any building built before April 1, 1987, it must be tested for asbestos. Even very small renovations or alterations to an existing building requires asbestos testing.
How New Yorkers Can Get Asbestos Testing
Licensed professionals handle all asbestos testing in New York. Small samples are taken from the job site from materials that are likely to contain asbestos. These samples are then sent to a lab where they will be tested to see if they contain asbestos.
If asbestos is found, then the paperwork is filed for asbestos abatement, which is the removal of asbestos from the property. A contractor who is licensed in asbestos abatement is who you need to hire for this process.
After they have safely removed all the asbestos, then a third party agency that monitors for air pollutants such as asbestos will verify it was removed properly and the building is safe for people to return to.
After abatement is completed, then an application is filed with the Department of Buildings in order to get the permit for the work and your renovations can continue.
Legal Action if Exposed to Asbestos
If you, as a worker or tenant, ever feel you’ve been exposed to asbestos and it has made you ill, then there is legal action you can take.
There are attorneys that specialize in asbestos-related claims who understand the state and federal regulations surrounding the material and the litigation it requires.