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vs1988 08-11-2010 09:39 PM

Botched Asbestos Removal Several Years Ago...Remediation?
 
Hi all. About ten years ago, my parents decided to have two rooms in our house renovated, including removal of the popcorn ceilings. I was eleven years old at the time, so I knew nothing about asbestos or any of its related diseases or effects. All I remember was coming home from school to see the contractors scraping and knocking down the popcorn ceiling plaster in dusty pieces. Last year, I became concerned when I read an article about asbestos, and that it is found in popcorn ceilings. I then made the connection that those ceilings in those renovated rooms had been torn down without any protection ten years ago, and brought this to my parents' attention. They claimed that it was "safe", and that they doubted the ceilings contained asbestos. To be certain, I bought a home test kit and sampled the ceiling. It came back positive with 50 percent asbestos. To make matters worse, our central air conditioning intake vent is directly adjacent to one of the renovated rooms, which means that a good deal of asbestos dust from the renovation was probably sucked into the AC system and distributed around the house, and is probably still built up in the AC ducts.

I did further research on asbestos, and showed the test results to my parents, as well as information from online sources that I had printed out about the hazards of asbestos. I told them that although the renovation was a long time ago, we needed to hire an asbestos specialist to come out and assess the house for any lingering asbestos (especially in the carpeting/upholstery and AC system), and if found, have the house decontaminated. My parents refused, telling me that it was no big deal and that I was overreacting, despite me having shown them scientific documents about asbestos. My argument with them was to no avail, so I requested that they at least, for their and my siblings' health, not use the central AC anymore, because the ductwork is probably contaminated. They agreed to this, but I visited them at home the other day and the AC was running.

My questions are:

1. If my parents are unwilling to take action, is there anything I can do at this point? I have since moved out into my own apartment and no longer live with them, but I am concerned about their health and well-being. Furthermore, my younger sister still lives at home, and I am very worried about her continued exposure. How much does an abatement contractor charge for a contamination clean-up? If my parents aren't willing to pay for it I can try to, but I am also paying my way through college and very tight on money.

2. As with the first question, is there any legal action I can take against the contractors who came out and did the two bit remodeling job without testing for asbestos first? Since this was ten years ago, I have no idea which company this was, or if they are even still in business.

Anti-wingnut 08-11-2010 09:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vs1988 (Post 484393)
As with the first question, is there any legal action I can take against the contractors who came out and did the two bit remodeling job without testing for asbestos first? Since this was ten years ago, I have no idea which company this was, or if they are even still in business.

You'll never find them, and they have probably died of cancer.

Proby 08-11-2010 09:53 PM

Did you really expect your parents to not use the air conditioning during these past 90+ degree days??? :laughing:

Whatever linger asbestos is around now is nothing compared to what you would have been breathing in during the first year after renovation.

Windows 08-12-2010 10:21 AM

I would get a sample tested at a lab. 50% asbestos is probably not correct.

There is a lot of hysteria surrounding asbestos and I wouldn't be too worried about a single minor exposure because 1 ) there isn't much you can do about it now and 2) the VAST majority of people with asbestos related illnesses had an occupational exposure - daily, long term and high concentrate.

Giles 08-12-2010 11:16 AM

This link may possibly be of interest to you and may make you feel a little better---I share your concern---www.aa1car.com/library/trtu796.htm

Maintenance 6 08-12-2010 01:10 PM

First thing is to get a sample pulled from the duct work and sent to a lab accredited to test for asbestos. They must test using PLM method, not just bulk fiber counts. A large portion of the material picked up in samples will be glass fibers, hence the PLM test method. Fiberglass residential ductwork is notorious for collecting and holding bits of whatever airborne debris pass through it. The problem is that it won't hold it indefinitely. Any bump or jolt will allow bits of it to be released. The sample, if properly performed, should tell you if any significant amount of materila resides in the ductwork. Next are some air samples taken through several places in the home. Again, these need to be analyzed by a lab certified for asbestos work. They also need to be compared to background for your area. Only then can you make an educated decision about your next steps. You will not get a completely clean sample. There is enough asbestos occuring in the air so that some background is inevitable. I doubt that the popcorn ceiling had 50% asbestos content, but up to 20 would not be a surprise. Many had none at all. Anything over 1% is considered asbestos containing by the U.S. EPA and OSHA. From 2000 to 2007, the U.S. imported 110,000,000 pounds of asbestos. That does not include any asbestos imported in finished goods which is likely a much higher number, so it's far from becoming extinct in the U.S. Your particular story is exactly the type that provides for exposure over a long period of time. That is not a limited, one time event. There is a good chance that after this amount of time the levels will be pretty low. Bad thing is that everyone living there will already have been exposed to one degree or another, and no-one can say what that level truly is. Get it tested first. You may not have any issues.

Proby 08-12-2010 01:15 PM

I think the main issue here is that the owners of the house aren't worried, they only told the OP that they would keep the AC off to get him to stop nagging them. Even if the OP gets the testing done, the owners will still probably not care. This was a little bit of work done 10 years ago, any damage has been done long ago, or at least that is the way the homeowners feel.

Maintenance 6 08-13-2010 08:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Proby (Post 484688)
I think the main issue here is that the owners of the house aren't worried, they only told the OP that they would keep the AC off to get him to stop nagging them. Even if the OP gets the testing done, the owners will still probably not care. This was a little bit of work done 10 years ago, any damage has been done long ago, or at least that is the way the homeowners feel.

Ignorance is bliss :whistling2:

Proby 08-13-2010 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 (Post 485082)
Ignorance is bliss :whistling2:

In this case I don't think it's as much ignorance as much as them feeling "what's done is done".

P Marage 08-14-2010 01:07 AM

Keep in mind that it is not harmful unless airborne.
I dont know the name of the product but having my ducts cleaned in the past, The cleaning tech had a glue type spray that was misted into the ducts after cleaning to secure or basically "glue" any particles to the walls of the vents. The tech also mentioned this was used in really old houses with years and years of buildup, were talking 40+ years where cleaning would create more of a hazard (cheap alternative to duct replacement) once again to seal the particles to the vent surfaces. he said it was almost the same as white glue but really thin in consistency.
I would like to remind im no "specialist"! im just using info learned from word of mouth through these duct techs. but there are products out there that will eliminate airborne particles.
You may find this product through a furnace company that does duct cleaning.

vs1988 08-16-2010 11:28 PM

Thanks for the responses. I'll see if I can convince my parents to at least let me get the ducts and air sampled. One of the big concerns is that they do not think it's a health issue. At first they were convinced that there was no asbestos at all in the material, and after the test came back positive, they were convinced that asbestos isn't harmful, even after I showed them the EPA fact sheet. Their line of thinking in that regard was that the "contractor would never do anything to hurt us".


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