When a summer squall, winter storm, or burst pipe causes a water event, homeowners and property managers have three immediate concerns:
- Remove standing water
- Fix the source of the leak
- Prevent mold growth
These are all crucial components of cleaning up after a water event, but there’s one problem that never crosses most people’s minds: asbestos cleanup.
Asbestos is a toxic fiber that was popular in building materials in the ’60s and ’70s. It is no longer permitted in residential or commercial buildings, but many historic homes in Atlanta contain asbestos. Undisturbed, asbestos poses little risk. But if the particles are damaged or disturbed, asbestos exposure can lead to serious health complications.
Which homes require asbestos abatement after a water event?
If your home or business was built after the EPA asbestos-ban of 1989, chances are you’re safe from asbestos exposure. Focus your water cleanup efforts on removing damaged materials and preventing mold growth by eliminating standing water and quickly drying wet or damp surfaces. If you have an older Atlanta property, your first concern should be asbestos safety. There are two major risks of asbestos exposure after water damage:
- Water may damage materials containing asbestos, releasing dangerous particles into the air.
- Without proper training, clean up efforts may result in accidental damage to asbestos-containing materials like drywall, roofing materials, insulation, flooring, paint, wall paneling, and electrical components.
So what’s the safest way to repair water damage in a historic home?
- Don’t move damaged or undamaged materials until they’ve been analyzed by an abatement specialist and deemed free of asbestos.
- Don’t dust, sweep, or vacuum. If the water event has damaged asbestos-containing materials, cleaning may release more particles into the air.
- Do not attempt to remove asbestos by using sandpaper or other abrasive materials.
The #1 way to protect yourself after a water event is to call a professional abatement company. Clean Environmental Group has the knowledge and specialty equipment required to safely identify and eradicate asbestos after a water event.
For more information about asbestos risks in historic Atlanta homes, contact us today.