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Hazardous Materials Assessment of Home Reveals Lead and Asbestos Issues Lurking

Having a tree crash through a home’s roof is one way to discover hazardous materials lurking in hidden areas of the house, though the accompanying extensive collateral damage makes it a highly expensive approach. Professionals at a remodeling firm were helping clients who found themselves in this situation and contacted us to perform a hazardous materials assessment in the home.

Why did the remodeling firm request a hazardous materials assessment?

The remodeling firm was working on a property damage restoration project for Lake Oswego homeowners. A tree had fallen on their house, damaging building materials from the roof to the floor in several rooms in the house.

In order to safely rebuild the rooms and fully restore the home, G2 Consultants, Inc. was called in to provide a hazardous materials assessment of the readily accessible interior and exterior materials expected to be impacted by the planned restoration project.

What were the environmental tests run?

Going in, we needed to:

  • Determine the lead content of painted surfaces.
    To do so, we tested over 40 components throughout the impacted areas, such as interior walls, baseboards, doors, and ceilings as well as exterior siding, gutters, and window trim, in order to determine the presence and levels of lead-based paint. G2 uses an XRF  device for non-invasive lead testing. The XRF device allows us to safely and accurately test for the presence of lead without damaging the home.
  • Identify the presence and location of asbestos in suspect materials.
    We also tested multiple materials on the home’s floors, walls, ceiling, and attic to determine if asbestos was present.

What were the results of the hazardous materials assessment?

  • Lead-Containing Paint Detected
    Lead-based paint was not detected at concentrations equal to or above 1 mg/cm2 in any of the materials tested. However, paint containing lead at concentrations lower than 1 mg/cm2 was found in several tested components.
  • Asbestos-Containing Materials Detected
    Current state and federal standards define “asbestos-containing materials” as materials that contain asbestos in excess of one percent. Testing revealed two of the samples analyzed included wallboard with an asbestos-containing skim coating.

What should the remodeling firm do next?

Use Lead-Safe Procedures During Restoration

Lead is a serious threat to the health and welfare of every occupant in the home. If the paint on any of the components that tested positive for lead is turned to dust by abrasion, sanding or scraping, it could create dangerous lead dust or lead-contaminated soil hazards.

Even when detected at lower levels in paint, lead-safe procedures should be used during restoration activities in areas where lead is detected. Lead-safe procedures should also be used during renovations in other areas of the home that contain similar untested components.

Lead-safe procedures include:

  • Preventing dispersal of lead dust and chips by containment of the area.
  • Wet sanding and scraping, at a minimum.
  • Collecting and properly disposing of all paint chips and debris.

Abate Asbestos Before Restoration Activities Begin

If the materials containing asbestos are disturbed in any way that exposes and releases asbestos fibers into the air, it can create a dangerous health hazard. Over time, exposure to asbestos and the inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to debilitating or even fatal lung diseases.

Based on the lab results, all wallboard with plaster skim coating throughout the house should be considered to be asbestos-containing material. We recommended that all wallboard with a plaster skim coating that is going to be or is likely to be impacted as part of the planned restoration project be abated by a licensed abatement contractor before any restoration activities begin.

The G2 Advantage for Property Damage Restoration Projects

Our cutting-edge technology paired with highly trained and certified technicians give us an advantage over the competition in residential hazardous materials assessment as well as many other services we provide.

Builders and contractors with residential remodeling firms can contact us to perform testing needed prior to starting home renovation projects. Quality testing helps detect unseen health hazards so you can respond appropriately. Testing determines when contractors must use preventative safety measures during building and rebuilding projects, helping to ensure the safety of everyone inside the home.

About the author: Noal Kraft
Noal is a Principal of G2 Consultants Inc. With over 27 years of professional experience in the Industrial Hygiene and Health and Safety industry. He has worked on thousands of projects throughout the U.S.