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Air Quality Issues & Health Concerns Resulting from Demolition Projects

Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE

When a home or building has outgrown its useful life, has been destroyed in a natural disaster or needs to make way for new construction, it is often slated for demolition.  Each year, thousands of buildings are torn down resulting in millions of tons of demolition waste. 
Much of this waste is inert or nonhazardous, but other debris may contain hazardous materials that may be regulated by the state and federal government.  This waste, and the demolition process itself, can in some circumstances create exposure concerns for the project workers and nearby residents.
Demolition projects often create a large amount of particulate matter that can spread to surrounding properties. Depending on the type and age of the building, it could contain any number of hazardous materials, including the following:

- Asbestos was used in many materials found in older buildings, including insulation, flooring tiles, shingles, roofing, textured paints and numerous other items.
- Lead-based paints were banned in 1978, but many buildings constructed before then still contain it.  Some structures may even have old lead pipes.
- Mold can quickly begin to grow throughout an abandoned building or one in disrepair, including some types that are known to be pathogenic and capable of producing mycotoxins.
- Polychlorinated biphenyl, also known as PCB, was used in many applications including fluorescent light ballasts, caulks, thermal insulation materials and other items up until 1979.
- Mercury is an extremely persistent and toxic human health and environmental threat found in some types of thermostats, fluorescent bulbs, smoke detectors, old paints and other materials.

“There are a number of potentially hazardous materials that can be mixed with dusts from demolition activities that can be a concern for both demolition contractors and nearby residents,” said Joseph Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Even diesel exhaust from demolition equipment can create exposure concerns. At EMSL, we provide testing supplies and analytical services to identify these and other airborne pollutants to help ensure that people are not being exposed to substances that can cause respiratory and other health concerns.”
EMSL recently sponsored an educational video about demolition projects and air quality concerns that can be seen at:
To learn more about air quality testing services or other environmental, health and safety issues, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email .
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for 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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