Should You Test for Lead Paint Before Buying an Old House?

Many older homes have a charm and beauty that is no longer present in modern construction. Unfortunately, many houses that were constructed before 1978 may also have traces of lead-based paint.

For many decades, lead was put into common house paint to provide strength and durability. The harmful effects that lead has on the mental and physical health of both children and adults were not fully understood until it was finally banned in 1978. 

This means that while homes built after 1978 are most likely free of any lead-based paint, it is possible that homes built before that year still have lead-based paint inside. 

Why Lead-Based Paint is Dangerous?

Although the ingestion of lead is quite harmful to adults, it has a devastating effect on children. Particularly those who are 6 years old or younger as it inhibits their mental and physical development. 

Signs of lead poisoning include milder symptoms such as sluggishness, fatigue, abdominal pain, and constipation. While more serious symptoms include delays in development, learning difficulties, seizures, and unexplained weight loss combined with a loss of appetite. 

While the devastating effects of lead were partially understood many decades ago, it was not until 1960 that New York banned its use for residential properties. It still took another 18 years before it was banned across the US. 

Should You Test for Lead-Based Paint Before Buying an Older Home?

The answer is yes! You should always test for lead-based paint in homes built before 1978. Keep in mind that even if you have signed a contract, the seller is responsible for scheduling and paying for an inspection of the home.

While the use of lead paint has long since ended, it is still possible that testing performed several years ago may not have fully discovered all the lead-based paint that is present. This is because older paints may still be underneath newer layers of paint. Even while lead-based paint is under newer paint, it still presents a potential danger. 

How Brickley Environmental Can Help

If you are considering buying a home that was built before 1978, you should call the professionals at Brickley Environmental. Our experts have the knowledge, experience, and tools to detect lead in houses even if it is under previous layers. Over the years, Brickley Environmental has worked with businesses and homeowners to detect and remove contaminants from properties. 

Call Brickley Environmental today and find out more about how we can detect and remove it from your residence, business, or structure. Our friendly, professional staff will explain our services, answer your questions, and provide a thorough inspection of your home to ensure that if any lead is present, it will be detected and removed safely and efficiently. 

For more information on testing lead-based paint, click here to visit the EPA website.

 

Sustainable Management of C&D Materials

Construction and demolition materials, often known as C&D materials, consist of the basic products used to create residences, buildings, and structures. These materials are used during the construction process, which subsequently means they will have to be broken apart during the demolition phase. 

The result is that such materials will need to be properly disposed of. Quite often during the construction process, materials will be leftover and not used. Such materials include but are not limited to:

  • Asphalt, concrete and bricks or masonry
  • Wood, gypsum, and glass
  • Metal, plastics, and other components

Other components often consist of items salvaged from other projects, such as doors, plumbing, and the like. There are also natural materials that are removed from the property for the purposes of construction, such as soil, trees, stumps, and rocks. 

Amount of C&D Material Debris

In the US alone, the amount of C&D material either created by demolition or leftover from construction is estimated to be 600 million tons each year. This is more than twice the amount of municipal solid waste that is generated. 

It is true that demolition is responsible for around 90% of the C&D material produced. Roughly 455 million tons were reused in some manner with the remaining being sent to landfills. 

Benefits of Reducing C&D Material Disposal

While a considerable amount of C&D material is being reused or repurposed, there are still nearly 145 million tons that are not. The advantages of reducing the amount of material generated are considerable. These include:

  • Fewer disposal facilities
  • Reduce building & demolition expenses
  • Offset environmental impact
  • Reduce use of landfill space 

Creating less overall waste is also beneficial because certain types of waste materials simply cannot be repurposed. By reducing the amount that is generated, more can be repurposed or recycled. This also helps the environment. 

In addition to the cleaner air, land, and waterways, the reduction of C&D materials provides benefits across the board. By focusing on how much C&D materials are used, the construction process can become more efficient and waste less material. For demolition practices, finding ways to properly reuse or repurpose materials leads to greater efficiency, less waste, and more jobs as companies form.

How Brickley Environmental Can Help

For those who are interested in the proper disposal of construction and demolition materials, Brickley Environmental has the knowledge, experience, and equipment to do the job. Over the years, Brickley Environmental has helped many home and business owners dispose of unwanted materials, including those used in construction and demolition. 

Call today and find out more about how Brickley Environmental can help you clean up a construction or demolition site. Contact us today and discover what Brickley Environmental can offer you. 

For more information on sustainable management of construction and demolition materials, click here to visit the EPA website.

How Much Mold Exposure is Harmful?

Mold exists virtually everywhere, both indoors and outdoors, and has a large variety of species. While mold has many beneficial functions, such as breaking down waste products and organic matter that includes garbage, dead trees, and leaves, exposure to mold also has a big downside in residences and buildings that have moisture. This can create a perfect breeding ground for mold in unwanted environments. 

Exposure to mold can be problematic for people, although it affects everyone differently. While many people may not even be aware that mold is around them, others can easily get sick by breathing it in. Understanding the dangers, identifying who is the most vulnerable, and offering solutions can help keep you protected from mold exposure. 

Exposure to Mold

Mold needs both a food and moisture source to start growing. Under the proper conditions, mold can grow rapidly, releasing spores along with VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that may cause some people to feel ill. While mold spores are mostly inhaled, they can also be absorbed through the skin or consumed if present on food. 

  • Outdoors: Mold is virtually everywhere outdoors however, concentrations of mold are quite limited. The mold growing outdoors does not produce enough sports to be extremely dangerous for those who are vulnerable.
  • Indoors: Mold growing indoors is far more problematic due to a lack of airflow within the confined space. There are also more opportunities for it to locate moist areas within food sources, leading to them multiplying. This is especially true after a flooding event. 

There are different varieties of mold, including black mold which may or may not cause serious health issues. Regardless, exposure to mold of any type can be problematic, especially for those who have underlying health issues and are more susceptible to illness.

Symptoms Associated with Mold Exposure

For those with a mold allergy, this can represent a significant respiratory issue. Those with underlying health issues such as respiratory illness, asthma, lung disease, COPD, and immune suppression are particularly vulnerable to mold exposure. 

Exposure to mold may cause a variety of conditions ranging from coughing and sneezing to itchy skin, headaches, and even dizziness. While such symptoms may be the sign of other illnesses or types of infection, those who experience such symptoms should inform their doctor and request getting checked for mold infection. 

How Brickley Environmental Can Help

If you are concerned that mold may be present in your home or workplace, contact the experts at Brickley Environmental for assistance today. The trained technicians at Brickley Environmental have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to remove the mold from your property. 

For more information on mold exposure, click here to visit the CDC website.

Runoff-Induced Erosion

Water runoff can cause soil to erode and wash away. While erosion is a natural process, when it occurs on land that is occupied by humans it can become problematic. The urbanization of the landscape, particularly the soil compaction that occurs under buildings, sidewalks, parking lots, etc. has the potential to increase the threat of erosion. 

Four Erosion Types

Of the different types of runoff-induced erosion, there are four that are considered the most prominent.

  • Sheet: This is one of the most common forms of erosion with sheets of water moving across the surface. This can result in the transportation of the soil by raindrops. The sheet effect may also cause the soil particles to become loose due to the movement of other soil particles because of the rain intensity. 

 

  • Rill: A rill is a narrow, long depression or incision in the soil that has a depth of less than 75mm. In essence, this is a micro-channel that when found along hill slopes may allow for a greater flow of water caused by precipitation. 

 

  • Gully: These form as a result of rills that get deeper than 75mm. When the water flows into a gully, it can start to remove the sediment at a faster rate. This is especially true if the gullies are located on a slope. The water flows through a gully at a faster rate compared to flowing over the soil. The result is a dramatic increase in the erosion rate of the soil.

 

  • Channel: This occurs along the banks and beds of stream channels. When the water flow increases, erosion may occur at a greater rate. Such increases in water flow in channels may happen because of soil compaction due to the presence of sidewalks, parking lots, and other hard surfaces that only accelerate the water into streams.

How Brickley Environmental Can Help

The erosion process from sheet to channel is not an inevitable one and is dependent upon several different factors. When left untreated, these may progress over time and become harmful to your environment. Depending on if the property in question is occupied or not will determine the strategy of remediation. Having a great strategy is imperative to find a solution to your soil erosion problem.

For specific recommendations and procedures required to manage your soil contamination and remediation issues, the best solution is to call Brickley Environmental who are the experts and more importantly have the expertise for soil remediation issues throughout all of Southern California.

For more information on soil remediation, visit the Natural Resources Defense Council website here.

Protect Your Family from Exposure to Asbestos

Asbestos is not easy to identify to the untrained eye. Unless it is labeled, it will normally take a trained specialist to identify whether the substance is asbestos. If you believe there has been exposure, it is advisable to call for an inspection of your home to be completely sure. 

A trained and accredited asbestos professional has the knowledge and tools to identify whether a substance is asbestos or not. If your home was built before 1978, it is possible that asbestos is present. Therefore, if you are planning on remodeling your old home or have noticed drywall or insulation that is falling apart, you should consider getting your home inspected for the presence of asbestos. 

Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Over time, exposure to asbestos fibers in the air may cause the development of asbestos-related diseases. The most notable is mesothelioma, a vicious form of cancer that can only be caused by asbestos exposure. 

Asbestosis and lung cancer are two other potential diseases that are caused by asbestos exposure. However, it should be noted that asbestos can also be ingested which may cause issues in the throat, stomach, and even the colon. 

However, such exposure can only occur if the asbestos is compromised. Asbestos that is still tightly wrapped and in good condition poses no risk to anyone living inside the home. Only when this material is exposed to the open air should you be concerned about exposure.

What to Do

A home inspection is a good idea whether you intend on selling, remodeling, or not. Knowing what is in your home will help you make the best-informed decision. 

If you suspect that an area may contain asbestos, the best policy is to leave it alone. If such areas can be sealed off, then do so. Do not dust, sweep, or vacuum such areas as that can potentially increase the asbestos fibers and make them airborne. 

How Brickley Environmental Can Help

If your home was built before 1978, it is possible that asbestos is present. While the chances of asbestos being in the home are much lower compared to a facility, you should call the experts at Brickley Environmental for further guidance. 

Brickley Environmental has the knowledge, experience, and equipment to properly identify and remove asbestos from your home. If you suspect asbestos is present give us a call today. 

For more info on asbestos, visit the EPA website here.