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Indoor Air Quality/asbestos pipe insulation and paper


QUESTION: hi,i was hoping you could help me with a concern that i have,we lived in a rental home for a year and  a half that had asbestos insulation on the pipes in the basement,it was also in the garage over where the garage door opened,we really never noticed it too much in the garage but when our landlord got the asbestos guy in to remove it from the pipes he also noticed it on the pipes over the automatic garage door,there was some paper hanging from the insulation over the garage door and i'm so worried that every time we opened the door it released fibres as the paper would hit the door each time it opened.we have young kids who's bikes etc were in the garage,we lived in the house for about 10 months before the asbestos was taken out,do you think we were exposed to asbestos fibres from the paper that was hanging from the pipes in the garage,thank you for taking the time to help me with my concern

ANSWER: Michelle,

Without knowing specific details about this building, and with no air testing results or abatement documents to review, I can only give a general opinion about your situation.  If the asbestos-containing materials were damaged and were being disturbed each time the garage door opened, there is a high likelihood that you or any occupants were exposed to asbestos fibers in the air.  

Additionally, if the abatement was performed incorrectly, then fibers may still be in the space even after the pipe insulation was removed.  By "correctly" I mean was the area thoroughly cleaned using HEPA vacuums, then were all surfaces covered in poly, then was the work area placed under negative air pressure, and were the pipes cleaned using sealed glove bags?  Were the workers dressed in dust suits and respirators?  Was the area inspected and tested after the abatement?

Many of us are incidentally exposed to asbestos fibers; this does not mean that disease will result.  Unfortunately there is no medical test or remedy at this point.  The best thing is to steer clear of any potential damaged asbestos wherever you live and work, to minimize any chronic exposure.

I hope this answers your question.  Please let me know if you need anything else.

Steve Major

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for your detailed response , it was a licensed asbestos abatement contractor because I checked to see if he had reported doing the work to the state and he did, I'm more worried than ever now over the fact that it was there for so long and every time we opened the garage door we were releasing fibers, so the paper that was around the insulation also contains asbestos is this right ?


Without seeing the pipe insulation I can't say for sure.  However most wrapped asbestos pipe insulation has asbestos in the wrap, but not always.  If the wrap was falling off, it is more likely that a fiber release took place, regardless of what the wrap was made of.  


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Stephen Major (Principal--Lakeland Environmental)


I can answer questions on indoor mold, indoor air quality, asbestos, and indoor moisture problems. This includes mold testing and mold remediation. PLEASE indicate your state or region, so I can provide the best possible answer.


I have extensive experience in the investigation, testing, and remediation of indoor fungal (mold) infestations, including the design and oversight of remediation projects, hands-on cleaning and removal, and safe work practices. I developed a successful mold remediator training and certification program, and have trained many mold workers and remediation supervisors in proper techniques. I have a strong knowledge of the ways in which moisture and airlow patterns in buildings can affect fungal growth and air quality.

BS Cornell University. IAQA Certified Mold Remediator. 40-hour HAZWOPER certification. NYS Department of Health Certified Training Director.

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