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Question: What should I do if I suspect asbestos in my home?
Answer: If you think asbestos may be in your home, don’t panic. Until the 1970’s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos.
If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos or have it analyzed by a qualified professional such as the Environmental Health Laboratories.
NOTE: It is a violation of Missouri statutes 10 CSR 10-6.241 & 250 to renovate building material that may contain asbestos without being a Missouri-certified asbestos inspector.
CAUTION: Do not sand, grind, cut, drill or abrade, or disturb suspect material in any way that may cause the release of asbestos fibers. Call for detailed sampling instructions.
Question: What can I do to protect myself and my children from exposure to asthma causing allergens?
Answer: The best way to protect against indoor allergens is good housekeeping and fresh air. Naturally shed skin flakes from humans and pets provide a food source for dust mites. Loose food particles and improperly stored food encourages insect and rodent infestation.
Cooking, laundering and bathing without proper ventilation raises the indoor humidity, which could result in water condensation on poorly insulated outside facing walls and ceilings, especially in closets or behind furniture, resulting in mold growth.
Standing water in refrigerator defrost collection pan or air-conditioning evaporator coils, excessively watered plants, and humidifiers can rapidly become breeding grounds for mold. Any water leak that is not corrected and dried immediately could develop into a serious mold problem.
The Environmental Analysis Section can examine nuisance dust under a microscope for these asthma triggers.
Question: How do I know if my child is at risk for lead poisoning?
Answer: The U.S. banned the residential use of lead based paint in the late 1970’s. Children who live in homes built prior to the ban may be at greater risk for lead poisoning from lead based paint. Children ingest the lead by teething on painted surfaces, eating paint chips, or putting their hands contaminated by paint dust in their mouth.
The Environmental Analysis Section tests for lead in paint chips, contaminated soil, cookware coated with lead based glaze, leaded crystal-ware, or items made of pewter. Certain indoor activities performed with inadequate ventilation may also cause lead poisoning: soldering, working with leaded stain glass, target practicing with lead ammunition, sanding or heat gun stripping of lead-based paint.
For a nominal fee, the Environmental Health Laboratories can test your suspect items for lead content.
Question: Where can I obtain the daily pollen and mold counts for the Saint Louis region?
Answer: The pollen and mold count data is available via pollen information line 314-615-6825 and the Pollen and Mold Center. The Environmental Health Laboratories collects and tests a sample each business day. A certified analyst stains and counts the sample microscopically to determine both pollen type and quantity as well as mold spores. These values are also reported by local media and nationally by the National Allergy Bureau.
Question: Where can I find more information?
Missouri Department of Natural Resources: http://www.dnr.mo.gov/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov
CDC | National Center for Environmental Health: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/