GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- Asbestos kills 12,000 to 15,000 people every year in the United States, according to information from Environmental Working Group.
Grand Valley residents are trying to rid their homes of the toxic chemical as fast as possible, but it turns out they may have to wait several weeks.
"This summer’s been crazy, I'm running three crews, full time, some of my crews are running 50 plus hours a week,” said Justin Sutherland, General Manager for Regional Asbestos Mitigation Services.
Crews have been swept off their feet, trying to sweep out this hidden killer.
"Back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, up in the early 90s it was used fairly common,” said Sutherland.
Asbestos is fire resistant but also used for design purposes.
"Probably 90 percent of the popcorn ceilings you see around the valley are going to have asbestos in it and as well as the wall textures are very common, the next most common place to see it is in your flooring, your floor vinyl in your kitchen bathrooms,” said Sutherland.
They say Colorado is only one of only two states that heavily regulate asbestos. Under Colorado law, you can leave asbestos in a building as long as it doesn't pose a threat to health. Any future construction and demolition will have to be tested and approved by the state government before any work can be done.
"Summers have been getting busier and busier. I think a lot of it has to do with the economy, a lot of people are buying up older properties like this, they are doing remolding work on them and trying to make them newer, more updated homes,” said Sutherland.
Since it's so regulated, it's expensive. Wrapping up all the walls, floors, windows, and outlets. Also making sure fans are pushing out clean, filtered air.
“A 1,200 to 1,300 square foot home, you’re wanting to gut all the drywall in it, you’re looking at $20,000 to $25,000,” said Sutherland.
Asbestos abatement can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size of the project.
There's a lot that goes into keeping everyone safe during the project as well.
"So much stuff we have to set up, which keeps my guys safe as well as keeps the homeowners safe,” said Sutherland.
So, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
"Over time it will actually scar up your lungs and it will create fluid sacs in there and slowly but surely it can suffocate you and kill you,” said Sutherland.
They say there’s about a three-week waiting list because business has been so high. In fact, the houses on B Road that got flooded by a City of Grand Junction pipe will be using this company to help clear their asbestos.