"Doing the right thing."














July 29, 2011

Libby Asbestos in Gulf of Mexico

by bj kirby

The recent oil spill in the Yellowstone River may not be the only concern for America's waterways. With large volumes of water runoff, resulting from above average snowfall and heavy rains, flood waters may be carrying asbestos fibers, (a known carcinogen), throughout the United States. Asbestos fiber contamination in tree bark, soil, wood chips, etc., could be easily released by erosion. Taking this into account, Libby Asbestos contamination may be reaching as far as the Gulf of Mexico.

There has been much publicity about asbestos contaminated wood chips, tree bark, and soil in Libby, Montana. This has raised questions about Libby vermiculite finding its way into the Gulf of Mexico. There is a very real possibility that Libby asbestos has now contaminated America's waterways and is pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. Local scientists and authorities have been reluctant to comment.

To add to this “equation of death”, flooding in Minot, North Dakota, has ripped vermiculite from flood damaged homes and is said to be lining the streets and pouring into the storm sewers heading to America's waterways.

Vermiculite has been used to insulate both residential and commercial structures throughout the country for large portion of the 20th century. Tornadoes, floods, fires, and other disasters which destroy buildings have the potential of releasing great quantities of asbestos fibers into the environment.

June 24, 2011

Landfills Stop Asbestos

by bj kirby

Montana contractors and residents have been hearing some uncomfortable words lately - “You can't bring that load in here. I need to see your paperwork telling me there is no asbestos in your load.” Many have been told you need to know if there is asbestos present before remodeling. If it is a commercial building - it is the law. Surprisingly some of the biggest names in construction, largest consumer advocate groups, health care facilities and schools, skip the asbestos inspection. Most of these groups are required to understand asbestos laws and dangers.

After a meeting this spring in Great Falls many landfills are looking more closely at your construction debris. If the gate operator suspects the debris may contain asbestos (any material other than wood, metal, or glass) they might stop you. It is illegal to transport or dispose of asbestos without proper protocol. The landfills are our last line of defense when people, companies, and local governments don't care about asbestos rules, laws, or the public's health and safety. It is the responsibility of these groups to be leaders in health and safety instead of trying to sneak asbestos into the landfills.

The Lincoln County Landfill in Libby has received praise from the EPA and local asbestos professionals for their attention to detail. They have been one of the more progressive landfills and keep illegal asbestos out. Asbestos must be properly wrapped before transporting to the landfill. The transportation of asbestos requires specially licensed individuals to be involved. Another local landfill which is helping to control asbestos contamination, is the Flathead County Landfill. Both of these landfills know of qualified individuals in their counties to help people understand their options when or if asbestos is found.

The phrase “call before you dig” is well known and understood. The phrase for asbestos should be “call before you remodel, renovate, or demo”. Not finding the asbestos before remodeling can be just as deadly as not finding the gas line before digging. An explosion kills quickly. Not so with asbestos – death is slow.

The next time you pass by a building being remodeled or drive behind a truck loaded with construction debris – ask yourself, “Could there be asbestos...?”

Can anyone take asbestos samples?

That was one of the questions on the Certification test for “Accredited Asbestos Inspectors”. Most professionals in the real estate industry, along with many Home Inspectors, have been under the delusion anyone can “reach up in there and grab a sample and send it to the lab”. Well, this may be true in your own residence, it is not recommended. According to the EPA and the MDEQ the person doing a “Asbestos Inspection”, including collecting samples, on a commercial building must have taken the 24 hour class and passed the Certification Test to be an Accredited Asbestos Inspector. There is a proper way to collect these samples and a chain of custody in getting lab results.

With that said, Asbestos is serious business. Public safety must come first. Before profit margins. So please be informed before you begin to remodel or demolish. A commercial building must have an Asbestos Inspection prior to renovation, remodeling or demolition. Building materials and other products containing asbestos number in the thousands. It is often impossible to be sure without the proper number of samples taken and lab test results. Building materials containing Asbestos must be abated and transported according to the rules and regulations of the EPA.

Libby Montana is defining future methods in asbestos cleanup and material handling. As a home owner or commercial building owner you should always assume the vermiculite found in your insulated areas does contain asbestos and should be treated as such. The State and local laws are constantly improving in this area. Diligently ask questions before you take actions.

As Americans and Montanans we want the future homesteads of our children and grandchildren to be safe. Their health and the health of the environment is in our hands. Do the right thing.

Some diseases associated with Asbestos exposure are; Asbestosis (a scarring of the lung), Mesothelioma, (tumors in the pleural lining) and lung cancer (which is 50 to 90 times greater if a person smokes tobacco). For more information on these diseases as related to asbestos and facts about

If you would like an Asbestos Awareness Class for your group or an individual consultation regarding asbestos and your property contact BJCC Inspections, Accredited Asbestos Inspectors and Consultants.

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