Many buildings in the United States have been constructed with asbestos materials. Homes, condominiums, commercial buildings, and other structures built before 1990 are likely to contain the substance. In most cases, the asbestos-containing materials do not pose harm to anyone - it is when fibers are released into the air that a hazard arises. Unfortunately, many individuals release these fibers by improperly handling asbestos during removal.
It is not uncommon to hear about licensed and unlicensed teams and individuals improperly removing asbestos from older structures. In a recent case, Cesar Ripalda, the foreman of a licensed asbestos removal crew in Staten Island, New York, was charged with criminal nuisance as his crew "fail[ed] to use water to wet down asbestos bricks before removal, fail[ed] to properly bag and seal broken down asbestos bricks, and [left] loose bricks of asbestos on scaffolds as said scaffolds were brought down." Asbestos abatement teams should be properly trained to remove and dispose of asbestos-containing materials for the safety of themselves and those around them.
Four members of Ripalda's team were also carrying fake safety certification cards. The lack of certification combined with the improper handling of asbestos could have led to exposure for many individuals in the area.
If you are dealing with asbestos in an older building, make sure you are hiring a licensed asbestos abatement professional that you can trust.