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As Branson continues its rebuilding efforts following the Leap Day tornado, one company is doing its part to help prevent residents from being exposed to asbestos. As KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports, many business owners still do not know that an asbestos inspection is necessary before repairs begin.
Family Environmental is a Denver-based environmental consulting firm that specializes in asbestos inspections across the country after natural disasters. Right now, the company has representatives in Branson conducting these inspections. Crystal Alley, director of marketing at Family Environmental, says the Environmental Protection Agency requires owners of commercial buildings to have the inspection done before any repairs take place. If asbestos is found during the inspection, Family Environmental then conducts an asbestos abatement.
“They actually remove those affected building materials in a very confined way to make sure that they don’t get airborne. So we come in afterwards as well, after the asbestos products are removed, and we test just to be sure that it has all been done properly and there’s not asbestos flying around in that air,” Alley said.
For years, asbestos was used to fire-proof and insulate both commercial and residential buildings, as well as strengthen bonding material in drywall and floor tile. But according to Alley, it’s been phased out of construction projects since 1978 due to its severe health effects. When the microscopic asbestos fibers get damaged, they become airborne and pose a health threat when they’re inhaled.
Alley says though the company is offering its services to homeowners, its focus is on inspecting commercial buildings in Branson, since they are open to the public.
“The business owners of course have more of a thought process behind liability than unfortunately the general public as far as homeowners are concerned. Commercial buildings are a lot larger, so they would contain a lot more asbestos than an individual home as well,” Alley said.
Alley says Family Environmental will remain in Branson for as long as there’s a need for inspections. For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.
Visit our website for more information on asbestos, as well as Family Environmental.