Breathing airborne asbestos fibers can cause serious health effects, including asbestosis, mesothelioma, and contribute to lung cancer. Asbestos is found in many building materials, especially in structures built before 1980.
Demolition and renovation projects on single-family homes are exempt from Yolo-Solano AQMD regulation as long as there are no additional buildings on the property. However, the District strongly advises proper safety procedures in any project that has the potential to disturb asbestos-containing material.
Home construction materials most likely to contain asbestos include:
- insulation and fireproofing
- ceiling tiles
- flooring sheets and tiles
- furnaces and air ducts
- pipes and pipe wrap
- “popcorn” acoustic ceilings
- roofing materials
- transite shingles and siding
Getting your home tested
Structures built after 1980 may still have used products containing asbestos — the federal ban on asbestos was overturned in 1991. As such, we strongly urge all homeowners to hire a person who has taken an EPA-approved Building Inspector course to perform a thorough survey of the area that will be disturbed by the work.
The inhalation of asbestos fibers by workers and the public can cause serious diseases of the lungs and other organs that may not appear until years after the exposure has occurred. Asbestos cannot be detected by sight – materials must be tested by a lab.
Safely removing asbestos material
Dust masks alone are not enough when handling material containing asbestos. Using a wetting agent on the material prior to, during and after the work is heavily recommended. Waste material should be double-bagged (still wet), securely and labeled.
Asbestos material is considered hazardous waste, and must be disposed of as such. Contact your waste service provider for disposal instructions. The fines for improperly handling hazardous waste are hefty, and the action is dangerous to health.