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Rebuilding after Hurricane Irene Reveals Asbestos and Lead Hazards


EMSL Analytical provides asbestos and lead testing services to help safeguard reconstruction efforts following Hurricane Irene. 
Cinnaminson, NJ, September 1st, 2011
Current damage estimates from Hurricane Irene range from $7 to $10 billion.  Countless homes and businesses have been damaged by wind, rain, tidal surges and flooding.  In some areas the power has still not been restored making the cleanup efforts that much more challenging.
As property owners and remediation professionals begin removing damaged and soaked building materials and belongings new safety concerns need to be addressed.  In many of these older properties there may exist more potential health hazards.  Both lead and asbestos may be present and can pose a risk to people if the materials become airborne.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978.”  Lead from paint chips, which may be visible, and lead dust, which often is not, can be serious hazards.  As demolition takes place in the rebuilding efforts lead-based paints can be aerosolized if the proper safety precautions are not taken.  There are both field test kits and rapid laboratory tests available to determine if a property has lead-based paints.  Both are available from EMSL Analytical, Inc., a leading environmental testing laboratory.
“Asbestos can also be present in many of these properties,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc.  “It is a mineral fiber that was also used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for many years.  It was a common material found in insulation and as a fire-retardant. Because of its fiber strength and heat resistant properties, asbestos was used for a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials, including: roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products and asbestos cement products.  These materials should be tested to determine if they pose a safety risk.”
EMSL has sponsored an online video that educates people about environmental hazards, including from lead and asbestos exposure, following a hurricane.  It can be seen at:
For more information about lead, asbestos or other environmental testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit or email
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, food, and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. 


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