How Storm Damage Can Cause Asbestos Exposure In Commercial Properties

Tropical storms, blizzards, and other forms of extreme weather can all cause severe damage to commercial buildings, and during the worst storms, your building may suffer millions of dollars worth of damage in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, if your commercial building was constructed a relatively long time ago, you may also have to deal with asbestos exposure hazards on your property.

How Can Storm Damage Lead To Asbestos Exposure In Commercial Buildings?

Before it was phased out of use in the 1970s and 80s, asbestos was one of the most widely used construction materials in the country, especially in commercial construction. This unique material is extremely resistant to fire and is also an excellent heat insulator. However, it is also widely known for its carcinogenic properties, and even brief exposure to loose asbestos fibers can dramatically increase your risk of developing cancer.

Storm damage is particularly likely to cause asbestos exposure because many roofing and roof insulation materials can contain asbestos. In older commercial buildings, roof tiles, roofing tar, and roofing felt used on flat roofing are all highly likely to contain asbestos. If these materials are damaged or disturbed by storm damage, they can release dangerous asbestos fibers into the atmosphere.

If the roof of your commercial building is badly damaged and high winds cause damage inside the building, you should also be wary of ceiling insulation, insulation around pipes and HVAC systems, damaged sections of drywall, and damaged drop or 'popcorn' ceiling tiles. These materials may also contain asbestos if they have not been replaced since the building was constructed.

How Do You Know If Storm Damage Has Caused Asbestos Exposure?

If your commercial building has suffered storm damage and was constructed before the 1980s, you should work under the assumption that it contains asbestos. Garages, metal workshops, and other commercial buildings that require extensive fire safety measures are especially likely to contain asbestos.

If you purchased your commercial building relatively recently, the previous owners will probably have had the building inspected for asbestos before putting it up for sale, and would have passed the results of the inspection on to you. If the report indicates the presence of asbestos, or if you don't have this information, you must call in an asbestos abatement and removal service—like Ohana Environmental Construction Inc—as soon as possible to inspect your storm-damaged building.

Under no circumstances should you bring in a repair or material salvage service that is not qualified to handle materials containing asbestos. Doing so will put lives at risk, and will expose you and your business to expensive lawsuits if any asbestos is found during clean-up or repair work.

What Happens If Storm Damage Has Caused Asbestos Exposure?

If your storm-damaged building contained exposed asbestos, your chosen asbestos removal and abatement service will work to minimize the danger of asbestos exposure as quickly as possible. Using specialized air filters and material handling techniques, these services can prevent damaged asbestos structures from releasing fibers, and safely remove exposed asbestos without causing further contamination.