Posted on October 20, 2023
What You Should Know About Asbestos Removal
Asbestos is a mineral that has been used in commercial products due to its strength, flexibility, and resistance to heat and chemicals. It was often found in building materials such as exterior siding, floor and ceiling tiles, wallboard joint compound, drywall insulation, caulking, and mastics.
Asbestos should only be sampled, repaired, or removed by a qualified asbestos professional. Ensure that the professionals follow federal and local regulations for work in a regulated area. Contact Asbestos Removal Perth for professional help.
It is vitally important that you check the credentials of any asbestos removal professionals who are doing work for you. Licensed asbestos abatement contractors have the experience and the specialized equipment needed to remove hazardous materials from your home. It is illegal for non-professionals to perform asbestos removal in the States, and any attempts at DIY removal could lead to contamination of your home or yard with toxic particles that can cause health problems.
Before hiring an asbestos abatement contractor to work on your home, ensure they have a current state license and liability insurance. It is also a good idea to find out whether they have completed AHERA/EPA-accredited training. This training and certification guarantees that they will follow strict EPA guidelines when removing asbestos in your home.
Licensed asbestos abatement contractors will perform a complete inspection of your home and take samples for laboratory testing. Then they will give you recommendations on how to handle the material, which may include encapsulation or simply leaving the affected area alone. Removal is usually a last resort because of the health risks. Disturbing the asbestos fibers can cause them to become airborne, which could then be inhaled or swallowed and result in serious diseases such as mesothelioma, a lung disease that causes chest pain and difficulty breathing. The latency period for these diseases can be 20 to 50 years or longer.
A properly performed abatement project will ensure that the hazardous materials are removed, transported and disposed of in a way that will not contaminate your property or the environment. In order to do this, the workers will use specialized tools and procedures that have been outlined by EPA regulations. These procedures are designed to reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos for workers and householders.
A reputable professional will be honest about the condition of the material you are dealing with, and will never try to sell you a removal that is unnecessary or will not be done properly. Some unscrupulous asbestos consulting and removal companies have been known to encourage unnecessary removals or to perform these removals in a manner that increases the danger of exposure to asbestos for homeowners.
Do Not Disturb the Material
If the asbestos material is in good condition, it is usually safe to leave alone. However, it is important to check the materials for signs of wear or damage periodically. If the material is damaged, it will release fibers into the air and become a health hazard. When the fibers are inhaled, they can cause mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer and asbestosis. These diseases are not curable and they can be life-threatening. This is why strict regulations exist regarding the handling of asbestos.
If an individual tries to perform an asbestos abatement project themselves, they will likely break one of the many laws that govern the process. These individuals may also be at risk for serious fines and penalties. This is why it is always best to hire a licensed professional to carry out an asbestos abatement project.
During the abatement process, professionals should limit the movement of the materials to avoid releasing asbestos into the air. They should also use plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal off the area where the work is taking place. In addition, they should not use a vacuum cleaner or compressed air.
They should also set up an equipment room for changing clothes and storing their protective gear. The room should be supplied with impermeable bags for the disposal of contaminated clothing and equipment. Lastly, they should limit the number of people entering the area where they are working.
A qualified asbestos professional should also understand the proper ventilation procedures for the work area. They should turn off the heating and cooling system in the work area, and they should seal the workspace from other areas of the home using plastic sheeting. In addition, they should set up portable ventilation hoods in the work area and they should make sure to wipe down surfaces often. Finally, they should ensure that their protective gear is properly cleaned and decontaminated before leaving the work area. This will prevent them from bringing hazardous materials into other parts of the house. This step is particularly important if the work will take place in an apartment, condominium or multifamily structure.
Take Small Samples
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been found in over 3,000 different building materials and products. It is a very strong and heat resistant material. However, it has also been linked to mesothelioma and other lung diseases. Although asbestos isn’t banned in the United States, it’s important to know that certain types of building materials containing asbestos should not be disturbed or handled by anyone who doesn’t have proper training and licensing.
If the asbestos material in your home is intact and won’t be disturbed, you probably don’t need to have it tested or removed. Instead, you may be able to have the material sealed or covered to prevent fibers from being released into the air. This is usually done by a licensed asbestos abatement professional.
Sealing (encapsulation) involves treating the material with a special type of sealant that either binds or coats the fibers to keep them from being released into the air. This can be done on pipe insulation, furnace and boiler linings and other products. This is often cheaper and less dangerous than removal.
Other types of repairs involve covering or wrapping the material in a protective fabric, such as duct tape. This can be done on small areas of exposed asbestos in your home, such as insulating pipe, or covering large areas, such as whole sections of a home. Commercial products designed to fill holes or seal damaged areas can be purchased at stores that specialize in asbestos materials and safety items.
Generally speaking, you should not attempt to take your own samples of the material for analysis because it may increase the health risk by increasing the number of fibers that are released into the air. Only trained asbestos professionals should be taking samples for testing because they are equipped with the right equipment to do so safely.
The simplest way to reduce the chance of asbestos fibers becoming airborne is to wear a respirator while the sample is being taken. Before sampling, the area should be wetted with a fine mist of water containing a few drops of detergent. The detergent lowers the surface tension of the water, which helps to minimize the release of fibers. Ideally, the sample should be sent to an asbestos analysis laboratory accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program. A directory of laboratories can be found on the NVLAP web site or by calling your state or local health department.
Hire a Professional
Asbestos can be found in many common products, including textured paint, floor and ceiling tiles, shingles, insulation, and more. It is generally considered safe if it has not been disturbed, but it can cause health problems if the fibers become airborne and inhaled. To minimize the risk, it is best to hire a professional to remove asbestos in your home.
A licensed asbestos abatement contractor will conduct a home inspection, take samples of suspected material, and advise you about what corrections need to be made. Material in good condition usually does not need to be sampled or removed, but it should be repaired by a qualified professional.
When hiring a company to do the work, be sure they will provide a written contract specifying the work plan and cleanup procedures. They should also list any applicable federal, state and local regulations that they must follow. Contact your state and local health departments and EPA regional offices to find out what these regulations are.
The contractors should be properly trained and certified to work with asbestos. They should wear disposable suits, hoods, gloves and shoe covers when working in an abatement area. They should also use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaner to remove the dust from the area. A non-abatement work area should be clearly defined, and the contractor should never enter the clean zone without properly decontaminating themselves. The contractor should also set up air monitoring outside the abatement area to ensure that the work site is not contaminating surrounding areas.
Once the abatement is complete, all the equipment and cleaning rags should be double bagged and labeled as asbestos waste. The contractor should then dispose of the asbestos waste at a designated landfill. The contractor should also clean the work area, and wipe down his/her tools and protective gear before leaving. Finally, a walk-through of the cleaned area should be done to ensure that the work site is visually free of any asbestos dust.
Before hiring a contractor for the asbestos removal process, obtain bids from several different companies. Be sure to describe the project in as much detail as possible so each contractor can give you a realistic estimate. The cost of the project should include labor, air monitoring costs and asbestos waste disposal fees.