FAQ

Why would you need Environmental Management Specialists, Inc. for Asbestos?

If you are the owner, owner's agent or a tenant of a building built prior to 1981, EPA and OSHA have regulations that will have to be met prior to any renovation or demolition activities you are planning for the building in question.  You are also required to notify your employees and guests that there are building materials that are presumed to be asbestos containing (ACM).
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Why should I use Dry Ice Blasting instead of Traditional Blasting Methods?

Dry ice blasting is a completely dry process.  Dry ice blasting is non-toxic, non-conductive and non-abrasive.  Dry ice vaporizes immediately on contact with treated surfaces.  This gives several advantages in comparison with traditional blasting methods.  With dry ice blasting there is no secondary waste material (sand, glass, plastic, etc.).  The only waste to be swept or vacuumed up is the coating dislodged by the treatment.  It is therefore possible to clean objects in which other blasting methods' residual blasting material would collect in every inaccessible corner.  Dry ice blasting allows cleaning to be performed while machines are running, without the need for dismantling.  This is, of course, of great economic importance as costly downtime can be eliminated or drastically reduced.
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Why is Mold growing in my Building?

Molds are part of the natural environment.  Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided.  Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air.  Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet.  There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.
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Where lead is likely to be a hazard?

Lead from paint chips, which you can see, and lead dust, which you can't always see, can be serious hazards.  Peeling, chipping, chalking, or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediate attention.  Lead-based paint may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear.  These areas include:  Windows and window sills. Doors and door frames.  Stairs, railings, and banisters.  Porches and fences.
 
Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry sanded, or heated.  Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together.  Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch.  Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep or walk through it.  Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes.
 
Note: Lead-based paint that is in good condition is usually not a hazard. 

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When should you have Air Ducts cleaned?

If there is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.  There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems: 
  • Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists. 
  • You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it. 
  • If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced. 
  • If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur. 
If ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).
 
If ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

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When should you do something about the Asbestos in your building?

If the asbestos containing materials (ACM) in your building are in good condition, you don't have to remove them unless you expect the materials to be disturbed.  If the ACM is not in good condition, becomes damaged or if construction activities could in any way disturb ACM, you will need to contact a licensed and accredited asbestos building inspector, project designer, and/or abatement contractor to test/remove these ACM's.
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What type of Building Materials contain Asbestos?

Some of the most common asbestos containing materials (ACM's) are:
 
Cement PipesPacking Materials (wall/floor penetrations)Electrical Cloth
Cement WallboardHigh Temperature GasketsElectric Wiring Insulation
Cement SidingLaboratory Hoods/Table TopsChaulkboards
Asphalt Floor TileLaboratory GlovesRoofing Shingles
Vinyl Floor TileFire BlanketsRoofing Felt
Vinyl Sheet FlooringFire CurtainsBase Flashing
Flooring BackingElevator Equipment PanelsThermal Paper Products
Construction Mastics (floor tile, carpet, ceiling tile)Elevator Brake ShoesFire Doors
Accoustical PlasterHVAC Duct InsulationCaulking/Putties
Decorative PlasterBoiler InsulationAdhesives
Textured Paints/CoatingsBreaching InsulationWallboard/Transite
Ceiling Tiles and Lay-in PanelsDuctwork Flexible Fabric ConnectionsJoint Compounds
Spray-Applied InsulationCooling TowersVinyl Wall Coverings
Blown-in InsulationPipe Insulation (air-cell, block, layered paper)Spackling Compounds
Fireproofing MaterialsHeating and Electrical DuctsSealants
Taping Compounds (thermal)Electrical Partition Panels
 
 

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What should be done about Asbestos in your Home/Business?

If you think asbestos may be in your home, don't panic.  Usually the best thing is to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone.  Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers.  Check material regularly if you suspect it may contain asbestos.  Don't touch it, but look for signs of wear or damage such as tears, abrasions, or water damage.  Damaged material may release asbestos fibers.  This is particularly true if you often disturb it by hitting, rubbing, or handling it, or if it is exposed to extreme vibration or air flow.  Sometimes the best way to deal with slightly damaged material is to limit access to the area and not touch or disturb it.  Discard damaged or worn asbestos gloves, stove-top pads, or ironing board covers.  Check with local health, environmental, or other appropriate officials to find out proper handling and disposal procedures.  If asbestos material is more than slightly damaged, or if you are going to make changes in your home that might disturb it, repair or removal by a professional is needed.  Before you have your commercial building or house demolished or remodeled, find out whether asbestos materials are present by having an asbestos inspection performed.
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What materials can withstand Dry Ice Blasting?

As the process is dry and non-abrasive, any material can be cleaned by dry ice blasting without ill effects.   For example, highly polished aluminum can be treated without the surface becoming matt.
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What is the difference between Mold and Mildew?

Mildew refers to certain kinds of mold or fungus.  The term mildew is often used generically to refer to mold growth, usually with a flat growth habit. Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae.  Molds can thrive on any organic matter, including clothing, leather, paper, and the ceilings, walls and floors of homes with moisture management problems. Mildew often lives on shower walls, windowsills, and other places where moisture levels are high. There are many species of molds. In unaired places, such as basements, they can produce a strong musty odor.
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What is Mold?

Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce.  Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually.  When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive.  There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.  When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.  There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
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What is Lead?

Lead is a naturally occurring bluish-gray metal found in small amounts in the earth’s crust.  Lead can be found in all parts of our environment.  Much of it comes from human activities including burning fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing.
 
Lead has many different uses.  It is used in the production of batteries, ammunition, metal products (solder and pipes), and devices to shield X-rays.  Because of health concerns, lead from paints and ceramic products, caulking, and pipe solder has been dramatically reduced in recent years.  The use of lead as an additive to gasoline was banned in 1996 in the United States.

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What is Dry Ice?

Dry ice is carbon dioxide in solid form.  It can be produced as pellets or blocks of various sizes.  At atmospheric pressure, the temperature of dry ice is -79°C in solid form.
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What is Dry Ice Blasting?

Dry ice blasting is a revolutionary blasting method in which dry ice pellets replace traditional blasting materials like sand, water, glass and plastic.  In contrast to sand blasting, etc., the process leaves no secondary waste material.  The only waste to be disposed of is the coating that has been dislodged, and this can normally be swept or vacuumed from the floor beneath the treated object.  The process is dry and non-conductive, and it is therefore suitable for use on electric motors and electrical circuitry.
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What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a number of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals mined for their useful properties such as thermal insulation, chemical and thermal stability, and high tensile strength.  Also, it has the ability to be woven, and has resistance to heat and most chemicals.  Because of these properties, asbestos fibers have been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, including roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper and cement products, textiles, coatings, acoustic insulator, thermal system insulation, fire proofing and friction products such as automobile clutch, brake and transmission parts.  The current federal definition of asbestos is the asbestiform varieties of: chrysotile (serpentine); crocidolite (riebeckite); amosite (cummingtonite/grunerite); anthophyllite; tremolite; and actinolite.  Many products in use today contain asbestos.
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What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Air duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.  If not properly installed, maintained, and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris.  If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home's living space.  Some of these contaminants may cause people with allergies to have allergic reactions or other symptoms if they are exposed to them.
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What Industries can be served by Dry Ice Blasting?

AEROSPACEMARINE
CONTRACT CLEANINGMASS TRANSIT
ELECTRICALMOLD REMEDIATION
FIRE RESTORATIONPACKAGING
FOOD & BEVERAGEPHARMICEUTICALS
FOUNDRYPLASTICS
GENERAL MAINTENANCEPRINTING / PLATING
HISTORIC RESTORATIONUTILITIES
MANUFACTURING
 
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What happens to the "blasted-off" coating?

1)  Dry coatings crack into small flakes that can be swept or vacuumed up after dry ice blasting.
2)  Moist coatings (e.g. oil or grease) are carried away in the compressed-air jet in a fashion similar to that seen with high-pressure hosing. The treated surface is left dry and clean.  

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What happens to Lead when it enters the environment?

  • Lead itself does not break down, but lead compounds are changed by sunlight, air, and water. 
  • When lead is released to the air, it may travel long distances before settling to the ground. 
  • Once lead falls onto soil, it usually sticks to soil particles. 
  • Movement of lead from soil into groundwater will depend on the type of lead compound and the characteristics of the soil.

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