Lead is dangerous to everyone, of course, but it is particularly hazardous for children. That’s why buildings such as schools and daycare centers need to take extra precautions to ensure that the children there are not exposed to lead. Bay Area buildings that were constructed prior to the 1980s may have lead-based paint , which must be professionally removed or contained to prevent a serious health hazard. Here’s what you need to know:
Damaged paint poses the biggest problem.
In many cases, the lead-based paint in a building has been painted over many times. If the paint remains intact and is not deteriorating, it usually does not pose an immediate health threat to anyone. In cases where the paint has started to deteriorate, or where it is weathering, peeling, or chipping, the risk of contact with lead is much higher. If your building was built before 1978, you should have it tested for possible lead presence.
High-contact areas are a concern.
Lead is most dangerous when it is in places that are frequently touched by people. In schools and daycare centers, these areas may include stair rails, doors, window sills, and porch railings. If a child puts his or her mouth on something that contains any quantity of lead, it can cause serious harm. Toys, bottles, and other objects that children use should always be washed if they have fallen on the ground.
Regular inspections are a must.
It’s important for schools and daycare centers to do periodic inspections for lead, focusing on the places that are most likely to contain it, such as painted walls and doors. Playground equipment, which is often painted, should also be inspected for possible lead. Even the soil in playgrounds should be checked for lead, as lead dust can easily be tracked there. Finally, all drinking water fountains should be tested for lead.
If you’re having your Bay Area home professionally treated for asbestos, you may be wondering if you have any need to fear for your well-being during the process. At Environmental Remedies, Inc. , we take very thorough precautions to protect the health and safety of our customers and their families. First, we’ll identify the area that needs work, then seal it to keep the rest of your property safe. We use air filtration devices to ensure that tiny asbestos fibers don’t get into your indoor air and put your health at risk. Then, our team will remove as much of the contaminated material as possible, using a sealant to treat any material that can’t be removed. We’ll place all the asbestos-containing materials in leak-proof containers, remove them from your property, and safely dispose of them. Finally, we will wipe down all surfaces and do a final lab test to make sure that there is no trace of asbestos remaining in your home.
Asbestos is something that almost everyone has heard of, but not everyone is clear on what it is. You may have heard that it is a dangerous substance that can often be found in older buildings, and you may know that it is resistant to fire. Asbestos is a mineral that humans have been mining and using for thousands of years. It wasn’t until relatively recently, however, that we discovered how hazardous the substance is to our health. If you inhale fine asbestos fibers, it can have serious consequences, including making you more likely to develop cancer. That’s why professional asbestos abatement is so critical if you think that you may have the mineral in the walls of your Bay Area home. Watch this informative video to learn more about asbestos.
Biological contaminants can be just as harmful to the health as asbestos or lead. If your Bay Area home’s indoor air has been contaminated by mold or other biological materials, it’s essential that you call a professional to have it contained and removed. Bird Breeder’s Lung is one of the most common health hazards that can come as a result of exposure to these materials. Here is a brief guide to this condition and how you can avoid it:
What is Bird Breeder’s Lung?
Bird Breeder’s Lung is the common name for hypersensitivity pneumonitis, also known as allergic alveolitis. The condition develops when a person’s lungs become inflamed because they have had an allergic reaction to dust particles that they have breathed in. This usually happens as a result of prolonged exposure to the dust.
What causes Bird Breeder’s Lung?
As the name suggests, the condition often happens to people who have been working with birds because they have breathed in particles from bird droppings. However, it can also result from exposure to a wide range of other materials, including mold, chemical fumes and paints. It can even happen when a person is working with materials not usually considered dangerous, such as wood pulp and cheese casings.
What are the signs of Bird Breeder’s Lung?
People who have an acute version of the condition may experience temporary cough, headache, and chest tightness during exposure to the materials. If the condition worsens, it can cause abnormal breathing rates, labored breathing, chronic fatigue, and other serious issues.
Is Bird Breeder’s Lung dangerous?
Yes. If you don’t take steps to stop your exposure to the harmful materials, it can result in permanent damage to your health.
How can I prevent Bird Breeder’s Lung?
You can reduce your risk of conditions such as Bird Breeder’s Lung by working to keep your indoor air as clean as possible, using tools such as air purifiers. You should also make sure that your A/C vents stay clean and free of dust and mold. If your building’s air is already contaminated, however, your best move is to have it removed by an experienced professional.
Lead-based paint has been banned in the U.S. for decades, but some older homes and painted products can still contain it. As the paint deteriorates, the lead can contaminate dust and soil, which increases the risk of unsafe exposure to lead. If you’re concerned about unacceptable levels of lead in your older home, you should call in the professionals in the Bay Area to handle the lead-based paint removal for you.
Unacceptable levels of contamination have been defined according to where the lead is. For instance, 40 micrograms or more of lead in the dust found in a square foot on floors is an unacceptable amount. The same applies to 250 micrograms of lead per square foot of dust on interior window sills, and 400 parts per million (ppm) of lead in the soil found in children’s play areas. Soil that is found in places other than children’s play areas is considered contaminated at 1,000 ppm.
Often, getting through a natural disaster event is easier than dealing with the aftermath. This is especially true for healthcare centers, in which the biological contamination that can result from natural disasters will pose a health hazard to patients whose health is already compromised. In the Bay Area, mold remediation professionals recommend getting the process underway as quickly as possible. The longer water damage, mold, and other biological contaminates are allowed to remain, the worse the problem will get.
The Damage That Can Occur
A natural disaster can cause many types of damage, most notably, water damage. Floodwaters are particularly hazardous because they contain disease-causing microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi. If the healthcare facility is salvageable, the restoration experts may deal with damage to the following:
- Building structures
- Furniture, including hospital beds
- Electrical system
- Durable medical equipment and machines
- Medical supplies
- Laundry area
- Cafeteria/kitchen equipment
The Initial Restoration Process
Before beginning the initial restoration process, inspectors must confirm that the hospital is safe to enter. This inspection will involve checks of the electrical system and fire safety system. All mold remediation and biological containment professionals must use the proper safety equipment to protect themselves from exposure to microorganisms. Then, the restoration efforts will first focus on these areas:
- Removal of remaining water and sewage
- Restoration of the sewage system
- Restoration of the water system
- Ventilation of the work area
Additionally, the remediation professionals must identify the safest route to transport contaminated materials out of the hospital.
The Remediation Process
After a major natural disaster, it’s quite likely that much of the structure and the building’s contents will have to be removed and disposed of, rather than salvaged. Once the hospital opens, it will serve patients who may have compromised immune systems, asthma, and mold allergies. It’s too risky to attempt to clean porous materials that were contaminated by mold. Instead, all of these materials must be removed and replaced. All non-porous materials must be thoroughly sanitized, and all surfaces in patient care areas must be disinfected. Later, medical equipment experts may be called in to assess whether these items are salvageable.
Asbestos abatement professionals in the Bay Area are properly trained and equipped to handle asbestos safely. The average homeowner, on the other hand, can experience adverse health effects upon exposure to asbestos . You can find out how this happens when you watch this featured video.
It’s an animation of how the needle-like asbestos fibers can enter the upper respiratory tract and travel to the lungs, where the fibers become embedded in the lung tissue. This causes a localized inflammatory reaction, which can result in cell and tissue damage. Eventually, the asbestos fibers can move to the pleural lining around the lungs, and trigger the formation of scar tissue. The buildup of scar tissue can interfere with the expansion of the lungs during breathing. The potential respiratory problems associated with asbestos are why it’s important to call in the professionals, instead of trying to remove these materials by yourself.
Lead-based paint is a major concern for homeowners, with good reason. Lead poisoning can cause children to develop a wide range of symptoms—from irritability to muscle weakness. This isn’t necessarily a reason to panic, however, since lead-based paint in homes in the Bay Area doesn’t cause problems as long as the paint isn’t deteriorating. It’s still a good idea to schedule testing and, if necessary, professional removal of lead-based paint for the following reasons.
You have an older home.
Lead paint was banned in the U.S. in 1978. If your home was constructed before this time, there’s a good chance it has lead-based paint. The older your home is, the greater the chance of it having this paint. However, you should know that even if your home was built after 1978, it’s still possible for it to feature this paint. This is because the official ban on lead in paint didn’t require homeowners to turn over the gallons of lead paint they might have already had. It’s possible that the prior owners used this paint, rather than disposing of it safely.
You have children or are expecting to grow your family.
Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, as long-term exposure can cause anemia, behavioral problems, and even developmental problems of the brain. According to KidsHealth, every year, about 310,000 kids in the U.S. between the ages of one and five are found to have unsafe levels of lead . If you already have kids and your home is at an increased risk of having lead paint, you should get it tested. Couples should also schedule lead testing if they’re expecting a child, trying to start a family, or working through the adoption process.
Your home is near a heavily traveled roadway.
Even if your home definitely doesn’t have lead-based paint, it’s still possible for there to be high levels of lead in the soil around your home. If you live near a busy highway, it’s possible for leaded gasoline and its exhaust fumes to have contaminated the soil. Water runoff from the highway can carry the lead to areas away from the highway, like residential areas. Leaded gasoline hasn’t been used in the U.S. since 1996, but the residual contamination can remain in some areas.
Helping to provide a safe place for their tenants to live is one of the responsibilities of rental property owners, which includes warning tenants about aspects of the property that may cause injury. If your building might contain lead or asbestos in the Bay Area , then there are some things that you should know about reporting this to your tenants.
If your rental property was built prior to 1978, then this means that it is more likely to have lead-based paint and that there is important information that you must share with prospective tenants. Also, under federal OSHA regulations, you may be required to ensure that your building is safe from asbestos. If there is asbestos in your building, then you may not be obligated to have it removed. However, you are required to inform your tenants of the presence of asbestos, as well as what activities may disturb the asbestos and cause a hazardous situation. This is only an introduction to reporting lead and asbestos to your rental property tenants, and there may be additional steps that you must take.
Vinyl sheet flooring, popcorn ceilings, and paint are found in many buildings and are seemingly harmless. Unfortunately, things like these sometimes contain dangerous materials like lead and asbestos, which can affect your health and that of your employees. If you believe that your workplace may need lead removal or asbestos abatement in the Bay Area , then read on for advice on planning for the hazardous removal process.
Schedule a Professional Inspection
The first step you should take when it comes to eliminating hazardous materials from your workplace is to schedule professional testing. After all, if you don’t know what you are dealing with, it will be difficult to create an effective plan of action. Ideally, you should work with an independent hazardous materials testing firm. Once the results are available, the inspector can provide you with recommendations for what steps to take next, and you will have a better understanding of whether abatement is right for your workplace.
Hire an Abatement Company
If you have learned that your building should undergo professional lead or asbestos removal, then your next step should be to find a reputable and licensed abatement company in your area. The reason for this is that for the job to be completed fully and safely, materials like these should not be removed by individuals who do not have the proper training, certifications, or equipment to do so. When looking for a hazardous materials removal company, ask about their licensing and certifications, as well as what training their employees receive.
Speak with Your Team
Once you have found the right firm for the job, you can communicate to your employees that the building will be undergoing hazardous materials removal, and that the task will be completed by qualified professionals. Also, you should inform your team of what parts of the building may contain lead or asbestos, and remind them that they should avoid disturbing these areas. Finally, discuss the timeline for the abatement process with your employees and tell them how they can prepare for the process.
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