Tag Archives: Asbestos

Asbestos Removal and Safety for Homeowners after 2015 SC Floods

By Robin Mack, DHEC Asbestos Program Manager

When working on cleanup and rebuilding efforts after a natural disaster like the South Carolina floods of 2015, it is important to be aware of potential asbestos-containing materials that could pose a health risk if not handled properly. Disturbing materials made with asbestos during building repairs, renovations, or demolitions can release asbestos fibers or dust particles into the air allowing them to be ingested or inhaled.

Health Risks from Asbestos Exposure

People who are exposed to large amounts of asbestos over a time, such as contractors, and do not follow safety standards have an increased chance of experiencing harmful health effects. Asbestos can contribute to the development of lung cancer or other respiratory diseases. Disease symptoms may take many years to develop after being exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos in Homes

It is less common to find large quantities of asbestos in newer homes, but homes built before 1980 are the most likely to have asbestos containing materials.  Asbestos has been used in a variety of building materials, such as: siding, ceiling and floor tiles, stucco, sheetrock, joint compound, ceiling texture (popcorn ceiling), caulking, construction mastic, insulation, and roofing materials.

If you think your home contains asbestos, it is best to call a licensed professional to remove it. To find a list of licensed contractors that can perform asbestos abatement and demolition activities in South Carolina, click here.

Minimizing Asbestos Exposure
If homeowners decide to do work on their homes themselves or hire a non-licensed asbestos contractor, the following work practices and procedures should be followed to minimize possible airborne asbestos fiber releases and exposure:

  1. Keep the material wet at all times to help keep asbestos fibers from becoming airborne. A low pressure garden sprayer adjusted to “mist” works well.
  2. Avoid tearing, ripping, chipping, cutting, or grinding materials that may contain asbestos, such as those listed above. These actions increase the potential for asbestos fibers to be released.
  3. Do not throw or drop materials that may contain asbestos to the ground. Instead, lower them carefully to prevent breakage and release of fibers to the air.
  4. Please sort flood debris into categories according to the graphic below to help speed up the collection process. For any questions about debris pick-up or drop-off, please contact your local waste management program.
Graphic provided by SCDOT

Graphic provided by SCDOT

For more information about asbestos, click here or call (803) 898-4289.

Robin Mack Recognized for Excellence in Customer Service

By Cassandra Harris

IMG_4002 (1)

(Photo Courtesy: Office of the Governor)

As Asbestos Section Manager for the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Robin Mack works with a wide spectrum of clients across the state to help ensure that all safety regulations concerning the removal of asbestos are carefully adhered to. Ever-changing, Mack’s daily tasks and responsibilities range from speaking with clients over the phone, conducting site visits, working with local municipalities, and helping individuals and businesses better understand state and federal regulations.

Working hands-on with South Carolinians across the state to find meaningful and innovative solutions to each new challenge, Mack recently joined a small group of her peers for a recognition lunch and round table discussion with Governor Nikki Haley. Representing “the best of the best,” this select team of public servants epitomizes the exemplary customer service that is expected of the State of South Carolina.

“Dynamic in nature, everyIMG_4007 day there is a different challenge to solve and a variety of different customers to work with,” said Mack. “Being able to work with customers to help resolve their challenges, which are our challenges, is the most rewarding part of my job.”

Mack’s creative problem solving skills were put to the test this past year following a fire that damaged several Front Street properties in Georgetown, SC. Recognizing that property owners were faced with limited funds, she remained on site for two weeks, engaging multiple stakeholders, and offering alternative approaches to help minimize their costs. During this time, Mack facilitated the work that a consultant would normally do, saving the property owners money and ensuring that the work was done efficiently and effectively.

Thanks to Mack and all of the members of our Asbestos team for your continued efforts to help protect the health and safety of South Carolinians.