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Environmental Testing Laboratory

Category Press Release
Publish Date 2/26/2018
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Demolition Projects Creating Asbestos and Lead Exposure Fears for Neighbors
Introduction EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides testing services and sampling supplies to identify asbestos, lead and other exposure hazards caused by demolition activities.

Chicago, IL, February 26th, 2018

In January, Chicago’s WNEZ published an in-depth report about health and safety fears of some residents who live in areas of the city that regularly witness older residential homes being torn down to make room for new construction. People living in neighborhoods were interviewed about the dust and debris from these demolition projects and potential exposure hazards due to the presence of lead-based paints and asbestos-containing materials.

The column discussed the fact that large-scale demolition projects require approval from Chicago’s Department of Public Health, but smaller jobs, like the teardown of a single family home, do not require the agency’s permission.

Asbestos is a frequent hazard in these situations because it was used in so many older buildings constructed up until the late 1970s. It can be found in building materials ranging from insulation, roofing and siding to vinyl floor tiles, cement sheets and adhesives to name just a few of the many common asbestos-containing materials.

Under the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule, contractors who renovate or partially demolish pre-1978 residential buildings must be lead-safe certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and use lead-safe practices. However, this rule does not apply to the total demolition of a structure. 

“As old structures are torn down and carted away, a tremendous amount of dust is generated that could contain lead, asbestos and other hazardous materials such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) or even mercury,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “At EMSL, we offer environmental testing services to identify exposure risks associated with demolition projects caused by hazardous materials, including minerals, heavy metals, chemicals and even microbial contaminants. These testing services are instrumental for identifying potential hazards before demolition activities take place, during the demolition itself, and to ensure no risks remain for the community after the project is complete.”  

EMSL has also sponsored an educational video about demolition projects and air quality concerns that can be seen at:  

To learn more about this or other occupational, environmental, air quality, health and safety testing services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 43 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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