Mesothelioma commercials on television, with their representations of health-impaired seniors, evoke a bygone era when asbestos was a cheap construction material in every day use in commercial buildings.
While asbestos is not the hot-button issue it once was, it remains a very real environmental concern. Most of those buildings are still around.
A commercial building’s age is the biggest indicator of whether asbestos is likely to be present.
“Buildings built prior to about 1971 have a likelihood of having some kind of asbestos-containing material,” said Richard Serna of Environmental Remediation Management Services in Albuquerque. “It does not negate the possibility of asbestos being found in buildings built after 1971. We’ve found asbestos in buildings built as recently as 1985.”
Of the 354 metro-area office buildings tracked by commercial real-estate services firm Colliers International, 22 percent were built in 1971 and earlier, research director Ken Schaefer said. About 63 percent of buildings were built in 1987 and earlier, he said.
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