New Mexico has a very low rate of asbestos related illnesses, but there is the danger of many homes containing asbestos materials, which may cause contamination through contact with friable asbestos. There are some at risk industries in New Mexico including mining, energy production and construction. The presence of military complexes also raises the possibility of possible asbestos contamination in those areas.
Asbestos in the home
Asbestos was used in a number of forms for homes built before 1980, with some applications now posing an immediate danger and others remaining somewhat harmless. The most harmful applications are the ones that will become friable. This includes plaster, popcorn ceilings, joint compound, drywall and floss insulation. All of these materials can break apart with minimal force, generally, human contact is sufficient. Friable asbestos is dangerous as fibrous asbestos can potentially break down into much smaller fibers and these fibers will be smaller than can be detected by the human eye. These particles lodge in the lungs and eventually pose a risk factor for asbestos related illness.
Not all asbestos in the home is friable and dangerous. Flooring, siding and roofing may all contain asbestos that is sealed in a hard, indurate material. Fibers cannot penetrate this. As long as this material remains intact, it poses no threat. In case of demolition, this material should be removed if it will crumble, as per New Mexico asbestos laws.
New Mexico asbestos law enforcement
The New Mexico Environment Department handles the licensing of asbestos professionals and the collection of permits. This department will also provide education on a number of asbestos related topics and helpful links for homeowners and others that are unclear of New Mexico asbestos laws, particularly laws pertaining to individual asbestos abatement in the home. Single family homes are generally not subject to the stringent requirements placed on other structures.
All other structures are required to provide advance notification of any procedure involving demolition or renovation. This notification form will include sections to account for the amount and type of asbestos in the building, as well as contact information for the asbestos contractor, method of removal and disposal site for the ACMs.
Can I remove asbestos on my own?
Since individual and small residential units are exempt from federal and state notification requirement, you may remove asbestos on your own, although it is not recommended. You should at least entrust a building inspector to evaluate the sources of asbestos in the home and recommend a reliable course of action.
You may file for asbestos litigation in New Mexico if you have developed an asbestos related illness. This will help you recover damages to compensate for medical expenses, lost wages and other costs associated with the illness. Generally, you need to have an illness or proof of exposure and cannot file suit based on probable exposure. This will depend on the standards used to evaluate the plaintiff claims in the case.