Who Can Test for Asbestos?

John Riera testing for asbestos clearance.

Who can test for asbestos is complicated because of the laws and the need to identify all asbestos containing building materials.

People call asking if we process self-collected asbestos samples. We don’t. If the material does contain asbestos, we don’t want you to get fibers up your nose while collecting the sample. To be sure there is or isn’t asbestos the correct number of samples needs to be taken. Along with all the correct materials being sampled.

We do accept contractor-collected asbestos samples taken for worker safety.

It’s illegal. We can’t accept client-supplied samples. There are multiple federal, state, county and city laws about who can test for asbestos. SST and CAC licenses are usually required.

The laws that control asbestos bulk sample collection are lengthy. Take a look: How many asbestos samples will I need? The purpose of that link is not to teach you how many bulk samples to take. Rather, it is to help you understand how many samples we will need to obtain. If we take the wrong number of samples you may have a problem with the building department, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, your neighbors, etc., etc.

So, we know professional asbestos testing is expensive for one popcorn ceiling, but consider how expensive something called a “major asbestos release” can become…
There was a house flipper client that hired the local guys that hang out at the coffee shop to do an asbestos demo. Well, those boys used no containment (the neighbors have an excellent legal case against the flipper) and demolished so much of the wrong stuff that there are now asbestos fibers mixed with the dirt below the foundation inside the building. As a result governments have become involved, the entire building may need to be taken down and hauled away to a toxic dump site. This flipper will probably lose everything. Currently, he’s trying to cover all of this up so he can sell this property to an unsuspecting buyer. Most of all, if you are a buyer, always check the local building department to see if there are actual violations.

Finally, several very well qualified house flippers hire us. And listen to our advice on cleaning up toxic stuff. Everyone wins. The homeowners that buy these residences and offices are sure they have a healthy environment. The escrow goes smoothly, and the buyers get value for the money paid.

…seems like the cheap can turn out very expensive………..