Frequently Asked Questions About Our Bay Area Abatement Services
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions by our customers. If you don’t see your question here, please contact us.
Q: Why should I choose ERI ?
A: At ERI, we pride ourselves on our extensive experience, high-level of workmanship and quality customer service. Selecting the right abatement contractor can be tricky, with many important factors to consider beyond price. We encourage you to research your options and be sure to compare credentials and experience before making your decision.
Q: What is your service area?
A: We serve all Bay Area cities in the following seven counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Marin.
Q: What is the bid process?
A: Upon initial contact, one of our specialists will gather all pertinent information for the project. We will come to your property to evaluate the scope of work, take any necessary measurements, and thoroughly explain the abatement process. We will then submit a proposal for you to review and accept.
Q: What is post-abatement clearance testing?
A: The purpose of clearance testing is to determine that an area is clear of hazardous levels of dust, debris, or airborne particles before occupants are allowed back into the area. It is in the best interest of all parties involved to have clearance testing conducted; however, it can sometimes be cost- or time-prohibitive. Qualified personnel that are not financially tied to the contractor should conduct clearance testing. To avoid conflicts of interest, ERI excludes clearance testing from its contracts. Your project manager can refer you to qualified personnel or point you in the right direction to locate them yourself.
Q: Could My Home Contain Hazardous Materials?
A: Older homes are likely to contain lead paint and asbestos, which are both now known to have a wide range of possible health effects—including certain types of cancer. Asbestos is a high risk in homes built between 1930 and 1980, while lead paint may be a concern for any home built prior to 1978. In the case of mold, any area where there is excess moisture is a concern. There are many types of mold that may develop in the home, and while they do not always cause health problems, they are all potential hazards for costly structural damage.
Questions About Asbestos
Q: What is asbestos?
A: Asbestos is a group of natural minerals in the environment. These natural minerals form fiber bundles that can be divided into small, strong strands. Because of their strength and durability, asbestos fibers do not conduct electricity and are fire, chemical and heat resistant. This combination makes asbestos ideal for construction use.
Q: Where can asbestos be found?
A: Common products that may have been made with asbestos include:
- Decorative Material – Sprayed on Walls & Ceilings
- Hot water and Steam Pipes
- Furnace Ducts
- Ceiling Tiles
- Floor Tiles
- Wallboard Joint Compound
- Window Putty
- Siding and Roofing Shingles
- And More.
Q: Is asbestos easily identified?
A: Contractors, HVAC techs, plumbers, and so on can easily decide visually if asbestos was used in your home. Unfortunately, the only way to be 100% sure a material contains asbestos is through proper sampling and testing through an outside accredited company.
Q: Should I be concerned about being exposed to asbestos?
A: We are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in our daily air. These levels range from 0.00001 to 0.0001 fibers per milliliter of air and tend to be higher in dense industrial areas and larger cities.However, exposure in the home can come from the release of asbestos fibers that have been disturbed and scattered throughout the air. This can happen at any time, but especially when remodeling and home maintenance occurs.
Q: How does asbestos affect my health?
A: Health problems are usually related to the amount and length of time of exposure to asbestos; the more prolonged and intense the exposure, the greater the risk. Most of the asbestos fibers that enter the respiratory system are removed with the exhaling breath, or are trapped by the mucus lining in the respiratory tract and are then removed by coughing. However, through increased exposure, asbestos fibers that are breathed in may get trapped in the lungs and remain here for a long period of time. These asbestos fibers can build up in the lungs over time resulting in inflammation and scarring. This process can negatively affect breathing and could lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Q: How do I remove asbestos?
A: Unless you are a licensed asbestos abatement contractor, NEVER ATTEMPT TO REMOVE ASBESTOS YOURSELF! It is best to call an experienced and licensed professional to safely remove asbestos from your property.
Q: Is ERI qualified to perform asbestos work?
A: There are several items you need to check before hiring any abatement contractor. Make sure the contractor you are considering has a valid, current contractor’s license and certificate for asbestos related work. Make certain that the contractor has a current and valid license bond, and ensure he or she is a currently registered asbestos abatement contractor. The contractor should also have the appropriate insurance coverage to perform asbestos related work. In addition, each person performing asbestos abatement work in your home should provide proof of EPA-approved training. ERI is fully qualified and makes all of this information readily accessible on its website.
Q: What Types of Work Practices Are Used for Abatement?
A: If you confirm the presence of harmful contaminants in your home, connect with the professionals at Environmental Remedies to plan the abatement process. The specifics may differ depending on the materials present, but there are some basic work practices used in almost every abatement project.
- Containment – Asbestos, lead paint, and mold are typically removed through a combination of deconstruction, demolition, or intense “cleaning”. With any use of these abrasive methods, the space will need to be contained using plastic sheeting to isolate the work areas from the remainder of your home. Environmental Remedies, Inc. takes great care to control the surrounding environment to prevent the free flow of contaminant-rich dust.
- HEPA air filtration – As part of the containment process and to better control dust and particles in your home, our abatement experts will use HEPA filtered air filtration devices on every single project. These machines are installed within the containment and are used to extract harmful dust from the work area as well as create negative pressure within the containment to prevent dust from escaping the work area.
Personal Protective Equipment – All abatement activities should be performed by workers wearing properly fitted air-purifying respirators equipped with NIOSH-approved HEPA cartridges. Workers should also wear disposable, full body coveralls, gloves, disposable head covers, and disposable footwear in the work area. This equipment keeps workers safe from exposure and prevents harmful dust from attaching to clothes and being tracked to other areas of the home.
Q: Is Abatement Fully Effective?
A: Abatement of affected materials is a permanent solution for asbestos and lead as it completely removes the hazard form the home and eliminates any potential for future exposure. Waste materials produced from the abatement process are placed in sealed containers and taken to a landfill for proper disposal.
Mold is slightly different, as it is a living organism and only needs moisture to grow. While abatement is effective for mold, it may return if moisture is reintroduced to any building material.
In either case, to ensure that exposure is comprehensively eliminated at home, it is highly recommended to perform post-abatement clearance sampling. Before the project is complete, samples will be taken by an independent testing firm to ensure that contaminants have been removed as effectively as possible. Environmental Remedies, Inc. guarantees the passage of any post-abatement clearance test.
Questions about Mold and Lead Contaminants
Q: Where does mold grow?
A: Mold grows in warm, damp and humid locations usually around windows, pipes and leaky areas.
Q: Is mold harmful to my health?
A:Molds can produce allergens and potent toxins that can cause asthma attacks and allergic reactions.
Q: Where can lead be found?
A: The most common place lead can be found in your home is in lead based paint.
Q: Is lead harmful to my or my children’s health?
A: Lead can have extremely negative affects to your health, especially children.
Questions About Abatement
Q: What do I need to do before abatement?
A: Before abatement, there are several steps you must take. All of your personal belongings and appliances need to be removed from the area of your home in which abatement will be occurring*. Fixtures that are attached to walls and ceilings – i.e., curtain rods – should be removed to allow for containment. Heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment must be completely shut off. Our team members will inform you if further preparation must be taken
*Due to the nature of the abatement process, anything left in the work area is subject to damage and will not be replaced by ERI.