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Fashion trends in the building industry change with time.  The textured “popcorn ceilings”, also known as acoustic, stucco, or cottage cheese, have given way to modern smooth textures.  For Southern California residents wanting to scrape these potentially asbestos containing surfaces it is imperative that you test first prior to disturbing.

Spray-on texture ceilings were popular until the 1980s because it was an affordable yet easy way for builders to hide imperfections.

Unfortunately, this was during a period when asbestos was a high-demand building material in the U.S. and the mixtures they would develop would typically contain between 1 to 10 percent asbestos.  Asbestos in building materials is not visible to the naked eye and is determined to be present by a State of California certified consultant after analysis by a nationally recognized lab.

While it is not often you will find these ceilings covered in Lead-Based Paint it is something your inspector may advise on prior to removal (also known as Abatement)

The Results are in….Oh No –  What do you do if you find out your popcorn ceiling contains asbestos?

Any percentage of asbestos in building materials can be dangerous when disturbed and is required by State and Federal regulations to be handled in a specific way. Take care to make sure nothing disturbs it, and decide whether you want to have it professionally encapsulated or removed.

Removing asbestos popcorn ceiling requires specific precautions which have been determined by a variety of Local, State, and Federal agencies. It’s a job best left to qualified professionals.  Mailman Environmental does not provide Abatement work and takes great pride in providing you an independent survey so you can assess your options.

Popcorn ceiling is a “friable” material, meaning it can be crushed to power by hand making it exceptionally more dangerous. Friable asbestos materials release dust at the slightest disturbance and we commonly find dust around the edges of flooring, hot water heater closets, and other areas where friable asbestos containing materials are found.  The inhalation of asbestos dust is what can lead to serious diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Are small amounts of asbestos dangerous?
Whether your popcorn ceiling is 2 percent or 10 percent asbestos, the advice is the same. The ceiling will not likely endanger your health as long as it remains undisturbed or properly encapsulated. Having it professionally removed is the safest choice.

The Clean Air Act of 1978 banned spray-on asbestos products which were a major risk for the workers who applied them and led to countless number of illnesses and deaths.  However, the law allowed for exemptions for businesses to use up their existing inventory so asbestos containing products were applied throughout Los Angeles and Santa Clarita well into the 1980s.

The Sky is Falling!  Tips for Living with Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling
Do not disturb the ceiling in any way with nails, screws or tape.  Do not mount anything or hang anything from it.  If you must make sure to gently wet it first with a spray bottle to avoid dust.

Be careful not to scrape the ceiling when moving throughout your house, such as moving furniture or long objects (watch those broom handles!).

If your ceiling begins to deteriorate due to water damage or any other cause you should have it professionally handled.

Make sure children do not throw toys, pillows, clothing, or their siblings at the ceiling.

Avoid bunkbeds in a room with asbestos popcorn ceiling.

How to Cover (Encapsulate) Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling
It is not recommended to attempt to encapsulate yourself, as the process itself will disturb the asbestos.  Consult with a professional prior to project.

How to Remove (Abatement) Asbestos Popcorn Ceiling
It is always better to have asbestos removal (abatement) done properly. Cleaning up contamination after the fact becomes much more expensive and will require additional permitting with the Air Quality Management districts.

Ignoring these guidelines can be costly. Insurance policies often do not cover asbestos contamination caused by unauthorized renovations. This could leave you with a huge bill for asbestos abatement, on top of the health risks you may have exposed your family to.

For more information, or to schedule your Asbestos and Lead Survey, call us today at 661-219-5160.