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Contractor just sawed straight through asbestos

So I'm having my boiler replaced, and some guys came out today to remove the old one. After they left, I went down and saw this. Pretty sure they just took a sawzall to duct-tape-wrapped insulation in a 100-year-old house without checking to see what was underneath. It looks like corrugated asbestos.

What would you guys say is the appropriate response here?

Comments

  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Stop work immediately, do not allow anyone in area and call an abatement company to test and abate properly if needed.
    Detroiter48214
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,077
    Stupid is as stupid does...Bob is correct..the only advice anyone could possibly give is what Bob just told you..and the contractor or his insurance should pick up the tab..actually he should jump at paying for it himself as his insurance company will drop him for being that stupid.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

    Detroiter48214
  • Detroiter48214
    Detroiter48214 Member Posts: 15
    Thanks, guys. I cancelled the check for my deposit, and I've proposed that if they pay for remediation, then we'll move forward as planned from there. They want to take a look tomorrow morning, but I expect they'll agree to my terms, which are to my mind pretty moderate. I'll keep you posted.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited September 2014
    Anyone out there today that doesn't know that is "Cuttin' Corners".

    In some Jurisdictions, just having a boiler replaced where there is Asbestos that isn't properly remediated, can come back on the owner too. You're not even supposed to remove floor tile unless you have it checked for asbestos. And there are some that look just like they have asbestos but they don't.

    Then, there's old sheetrock.

    Asbestosis and Mesothelioma are two types of lung disorders that you just don't want to wish on your worst enemy. As is any form of COPD. Imagine going through the last part of your life feeling like you are suffocating. And finally, you do.
  • bill_105
    bill_105 Member Posts: 429
    Hi Detroiter, Are you positive that is asbestos?
  • Detroiter48214
    Detroiter48214 Member Posts: 15
    Well, we'll have to have someone come and test it. But my understanding is that it's only asbestos insulation products that have the corrugated appearance you see in the photo.
  • gennady
    gennady Member Posts: 839
    Contractor must submit asbestos form to building department in order to get permit. Did they get permit for boiler replacement in the first place?
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
    This is what is on all my contracts for boilers.
    10. ***Notice*** If any substance is THOUGHT to contain asbestos it is the homeowners responsibility for testing of, and removal of that substance. All work will cease until substance is removed, or tested and found asbestos free.
    Of course I check first before I cut through the pipe. So now that he may have contaminated your basement I would close the basement door and just keep everybody out. As the homeowner I would call on my own and have the material checked out. It my well not be asbestos and it may be, you need and expert to tell you.
  • Lance
    Lance Member Posts: 258
    I was licensed and trained to remove asbestos. There are only two ways to determine it is present, electron microscope and laboratory test from a sample. Like lead paint we are trained to recognize products that could be hi potential for asbestos. Air samples must be taken if it is suspected to be airborne. After a job we must take an air sample and send it in. If contaminated we need to mitigate some more. The proper removal is to isolate the workers head to toe, use a respirator, proper disposal bags and hauler. Isolate the area from other areas. There is more to know but it usually cost between $700- $1,600.00 or more to properly mitigate asbestos materials and clean the area. This stuff is nasty. The problem is it takes 20-40 years to show up as lung damage in some people. Special HEPA rated vacuums are used, special bags, and special techniques. The goal is to keep it wet and get it all out. This stuff gets in the lungs and causes scarring and won't come out. Risk is low if wet but high when dry and friable in the air. An air sample and surface samples could be taken. A sample of what was cut is the best way to start. If it is asbestos, we need to mitigate til clean. If not it is still best to use a high efficient soot vac or HEPA vac and clean the area. All soot and dust is not good for the lung, including cigarettes. Asbestos the wonder mineral, was used everywhere. Clothing, brake shoes, tile flooring, insulation, etc.
    - Good luck.
  • Detroiter48214
    Detroiter48214 Member Posts: 15
    Update: I got them to pay for an asbestos guy to come out and remediate it. I wasn't too surprised at that, given that doing so would seem to be in their own interest. I was a little surprised, though, that I had to haggle to get the contractor to cover it.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Glad there was a resolution. In this day and age IMO the issue should be mutually recognized however. The homeowner needs to be aware that asbestos exists and maybe take that a step further and realize at some point it will be disturbed. Possibly remediating in anticipation. The contractor or at least the initial "salesman" should alert the homeowner of the issue before the job is started and initiate steps to abate for their safety and the occupant safety.

    This stuff wasn't a surprise...
  • Fizz
    Fizz Member Posts: 547
    Asbestos is harmful if one is exposed on a regular basis or heavy exposure. Truthfully, unless you live in your basement in close proximity to the exposed asbestos you are not at risk. Even if you lived in your basement you would be less likely to develop cancer than if you were a smoker. There are no documented cases of cancer related to residential asbestos on pipes. Now the workers should protect themselves as they are exposed on a regular basis.
    SlamDunkpecmsgicesailor
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    What are your credentials, Fizz?
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,677
    Fizz said:

    Asbestos is harmful if one is exposed on a regular basis or heavy exposure. Truthfully, unless you live in your basement in close proximity to the exposed asbestos you are not at risk. Even if you lived in your basement you would be less likely to develop cancer than if you were a smoker. There are no documented cases of cancer related to residential asbestos on pipes. Now the workers should protect themselves as they are exposed on a regular basis.

    Fizz
    This is a dangerous, inaccurate & irresponsible statement to make:
    One fiber and bad luck is all it takes!
    Smoking increases your chances of getting asbestos
    House wives have gotten asbestoses from doing their husbands laundry.
    HVAC workers are not Asbestos Abatement contractors. Working with or near asbestos should always be left to licensed professionals.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,555
    Probably has the same credentials as me: Born in NYC in the 1960's when schools and apartments were laden with asbestos and buildings were razed after being torched without proper asbestos abatement and not knowing anyone, including parents, who developed mesothelioma or asbestosis.

    I dont mean to minimize it because laws are laws; people have indeed developed asbestosis. People working around asbestos should know what they are working with and be protected but on the other hand, I would'nt lose sleep over it either.

  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Never minimize the hazard. It's a real eye opener when you are HAZMAT/HAZWOP cert and refresh that ticket on a regular basis.

    Homeowners and uninformed contractors that create friable and contaminated sites are the bane of existence. They set up a carcinogen laced area that gets transferred all over and that can kill decades later.

    Take a gander at a victim of asbestosis. Not a pretty way to go.
  • Fizz
    Fizz Member Posts: 547
    I am a product of the 50's and 60's(born in 47), lived in a home where we poked holes in asbestos in cellar with a screwdriver(how screwy is that?), and currently live in home with steam heat and asbestos. My credentials are based on what I gleaned from medical professions on doctor visits and I refer you to the factsheet on t he relationship of "asbestos exposure and cancer put out by the National Cancer Institute. I'm stating an opinion that homeowners need not live in fear if they have asbestos in home. Workers and those frequently exposed to the fine particles, now they have to be very wary!
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,677
    We can debate this all day long. Here are facts, please post yours!
    http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Home/Asbestos-In-The-Home/
    icesailor
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,555
    Not minimizing it, just adjusting the focus for clarity. The American Lung Association supports Fizz' comment almost verbatum.

    As for my not losing sleep over it, not minimizing here either, anyone my age has had significant exposure without even knowing it. And there is not a darn thing we can do about it. Anyone around the World Trade Center on 9/11 was very exposed to it because one of the towers hasnt been abated yet.

    Interesting to me is, according to the American Lung Association, between 1999 and 2004, only 3211 people died from asbestosis (642/yr). According to the National Safety Council, your odds of choking to death on food is 1 in 4404! If you do the math with the population in the US, that is over 700,000 deaths per year-in fact on the list of most common causes of death, it is number 19.

    I have to emphasize again that I am not minimizing the dangers of asbestos. With the facts I just mentioned, I cant call it the boogeyman either
  • Detroiter48214
    Detroiter48214 Member Posts: 15
    Thanks, guys, for all of your input on this. I probably shouldn't get into any more specifics about what happened, but I will say this: we're having it all removed now. If nothing else, it will sure simplify future maintenance of the system.
    Bob Bona_4
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    The reason that Asbestosis DX's have gone down is because of awareness. If you want to get technical, there are two types of asbestos fibers. One makes up about 95% if the asbestos fibers found. The other 5% is the one that kills you. Sort of like playing Russian Roulette with a revolver pistol with a 10 bullet cylinder. One bullet is in the cylinder. I'll watch you play.

    Just because the statistic seems low, like most polls, they are skewed. I knew a plumber who smoked at least 2 packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day. He developed Lung Cancer. But during WW ll, he was stationed on a Destroyer that was damaged in battle. They decided he had asbestosis along with his lung cancer. They don't always examine the lings of lung cancer deaths.

    There is a doctor who is supposed to be a leading authority on "Black Lung Disease" in coal miners. He testifies for the Coal Companies. In well over 90% of the time, he had never diagnosed Black Lung Disease. Even with miners who went in the mines when they were 16 years old and when they are 35 years old, have 20% lung function left and live on O2. Even when the CDC and every other lung health organization sees it.

    But go for the 5%.

    Lead is good for you too.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,555
    You know Ice Sailor, I am not advocating grabbing this guys sawed friable asbestos and snorting it. I am just saying treat it with respect and take precautions but dont panic when you see it. The fact is, well, I'llcut and paste the facts from the ALA:
    ---------------
    How Serious is Asbestosis?
    Asbestos is potentially deadly. Between 1999 and 2004, there were 3,211 deaths due to asbestosis in the United States.

    Breathing in asbestos fibers can cause scar tissue to form inside the lung. The severity of your disease depends on how long you were exposed to asbestos and the amount you inhaled. Often, symptoms and lung scarring do not occur and are not noticed for 20 years or more after the asbestos exposure.

    Asbestosis usually develops slowly. Breathing becomes more difficult over time. A person with asbestosis may eventually need supplemental oxygen therapy to help them breathe. The disease can lead to failure of the heart and lungs.
    ..........................
    Asbestosis is not in the top 19 causes of death in America but choking on food is. We should fear our lunch more than asbestos. Another fact is, I personally know many people who installed, applied, cut and removed asbestos without PPE in the generation previous to mine. I only know of my father in law who died of heart failure at 82 and he had asbestosis. He also smoked two packs a day.

    Another fact is many abandoned buildings were knocked down with a wrecking ball without proper abatement during the seventies and eighties all around the US with the knowledge of the dangers of asbestos. Asbestos is dust in the wind. literally.

    So take a deep breath and relax.
    Bob Bona_4
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    No one is hysterical here. However, situations are created by casual attitudes re this stuff, and tradespeople are paying the ultimate price. Walking unsuspectingly into a site that wasn't professionally remediated is criminal.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,555
    I didnt accuse anyone of being hysterical but the last two lines of ice sailor's post were sarcastic dares. I hope they were sarcastic!

    Not just trades people endangered. Read this story about Grand Central Station in the late 80's. I used to cut through GCS daily during this period. Many people have.

    http://www.asbestos.com/jobsites/grand-central-station.php

    LaGuardia has a similar problem today and those terminals are a quiltwork of patch jobs. So bad that even Joe Biden called Laguardia a third world airport. I used to work at LGA.

    I dont even want to think about what is being caught in the draft of trains in the NYC subway system!

    I am quite certain of two things: I have asbestos fibers lodged in my lungs without ever having touched the stuff and Most of us have asbestos lodged in our lungs and dont even know it.

    It does not decompose. It is microscopic and can become airborne easily ; it is everywhere.

    Again, I emphasize the use of PPE and being informed when dealing with asbestos but I guess I am being casual when I say dont call it the boogeyman.





  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    I kinda agree its a bit overplayed, but thats just me….I think the owner is 100 percent responsible for what is in his home and must inform anyone working on his home about it….His house,his asbestos, his problem, to deal with….If he has family over for the holidays should he inform them of the hidden dangers in the basement were the kids sneak off to play…maybe
  • Dave_23
    Dave_23 Member Posts: 190
    edited October 2014
    My abatement experience, in summary:
    I live in Michigan. Had about 200 linear feet of asbestos-wrapped (corrugated cardboard and powdered filler at elbows) steam and water piping I desired to abate during a basement renovation. I hired a licensed and insured commercial abatement company with which I was familiar (not a blind stab at the Yellow Pages). They did the following, after a thorough site survey: Submitted a request for permit to the State, the State requires a 10 day advance notice/waiting period before work can begin. They had independent air quality testing on site for the entire job (testing before, during and after). They used HEPA vacs, TyVek suits and respirators. They set up a shower outside on my driveway. They set up a special door/access enclosure to my basement. They disposed of the suits along with the asbestos in special bags. They wetted and scrubbed the piping after removing the wetted pipe wrap. At specific locations where there may have been risk of residual asbestos clinging to pipe, particularly at the threaded joints, the cleaned pipe was painted with some sort of sealant (latex paint?). The independent testing firm again tested my entire house immediately after work was complete. I was given a report covering all aspects of the abatement, including the air quality testing and a bill of health, to be "as filed" with the State per the State of MI regs.
    There is a reason for the procedure listed above. Afterwards, I R&R'd the galvanized water piping with Cu, then insulated the steam and new water piping with commercial-grade 1" fiberglass wrap. Works great and is safe.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Thank you Dave, for doing it right! Good to hear :)
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    I have to ask.
    Is fiberglass insulation known to be "safe" ? Whenever working with it we always wore face masks.

    I don't know how it compares to asbestos but something tells me breathing in fiberglass isn't exactly safe either.


    Dave, glad to hear everything worked out ok in the end. Also glad to hear you re-insulated the pipes unlike most!
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    The last word I had on fiberglass on my HAZMAT courses was it's not desirable to be inhaling it, but at least the glass fibers have a chance to pass throught the lungs, unlike the barbed fibers of asbestos. The formaldehyde binders are another story.
    ChrisJ
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,555
    The American lung association supports that but google the subject and youll see a lot of law firms do not...
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433
    Bob Bona said:

    The last word I had on fiberglass on my HAZMAT courses was it's not desirable to be inhaling it, but at least the glass fibers have a chance to pass throught the lungs, unlike the barbed fibers of asbestos. The formaldehyde binders are another story.

    The Knauf Earthwool I used on my pipes claims it doesn't contain formaldehyde. At the time I didn't care but perhaps this is a really good thing?

    http://www.knaufinsulation.us/content/earthwool-1000-pipe-insulation
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Bob Bona_4
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,849
    Most people eat three times a day and come in contact with asbestos never, so saying that food is more dangerous than asbestos because more people die of choking than asbestosis is either deliberately misleading or just barking at the moon crazy. Asbestos is like sharks. They're not a leading cause of death because most of us don't encounter them in their native habitat, but when you do, bet on the shark.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,691
    My grandfather had a theory about "stuff" entering your body. "If it isn't something to sustain your life it's foreign matter and probably not good for you.". He smoked for a short time in the 40's, but quit because of that theory. He is 91 and in fantastic health so maybe he knows something. I can't say he's wrong can't say he's right, but it does make some sense. I think your body sometimes knows better. Ever cough from dust and dirt? That's your body saying "hey this isn't supposed to be here". Ever crave some kind of food...specifically something "healthy"? I think that's your body saying hey I need this right now so feed it to me. I worked for a fiberglass company for a couple years, I always wore my PPE, but I am also sure I breathed in a lot of that crap. I guess I will find out in 20-30 more years if it was a problem.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Dave_23
    Dave_23 Member Posts: 190
    What were the alternatives? Leave the asbestos, wrap pipes with fiberglass and tape joints with vinyl tape or leave the mains and other horizontal runs uninsulated.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,433

    Most people eat three times a day and come in contact with asbestos never, so saying that food is more dangerous than asbestos because more people die of choking than asbestosis is either deliberately misleading or just barking at the moon crazy. Asbestos is like sharks. They're not a leading cause of death because most of us don't encounter them in their native habitat, but when you do, bet on the shark.

    I would slightly disagree with that.

    I believe many things such as some brake linings and clutches still contain asbestos and the last time I looked asbestos is not banned from being used in new products.

    That doesn't mean I want to breath it, I don't even want to breath fiberglass.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment