What is Asbestos Removal?
Asbestos removal is most often performed when a building is being renovated or demolished. Many asbestos-containing components of buildings constructed before the 1980s are now deteriorating, but even if they’re not, most people would rather have the asbestos taken out of the buildings they inhabit, if it can be done safely.
Asbestos abatement is another way of referring to the removal or overall reduction of asbestos in a structure. Asbestos must be removed by professionals that have experience and are familiar with the guidelines, laws, and proper disposal of the asbestos materials, as set forth by the EPA. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, is an agency that works to provide information on safely handling, removing, and disposing of asbestos. Generally, undisturbed asbestos is not harmful, however if asbestos is suspected, homeowners should contact an abatement company before beginning renovations or repairs in the home. This is because when asbestos is disturbed, it releases harmful fibers into the air. Homeowners that attempt to disturb asbestos without proper knowledge and equipment may be putting their health, as well as their families, at risk.
Asbestos can be found in many places, especially in older homes and buildings. It is even present in automobiles and planes. Because asbestos is around, in abundance, it is almost necessary for some to work with the harmful material. Those that do work with asbestos must be professionally trained on how to deal with asbestos. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, enforces the containment of asbestos. Any company that deals with asbestos must confine the area where it is kept. This area must be closed off from the rest of the company and the general public. The employees that enter the area must be provided with protective clothing and a respirator, as well as an area for showering. Employees must shower before leaving the premises and change their clothing to ensure that asbestos particles are not carried home or into the general public through their clothing, shoes or hair. These practices are vital for keeping employees, their families, and the public safe from asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Removal Requirements
Homeowners that wish to remove asbestos without the help of a professional should follow strict guidelines to ensure that asbestos is removed safely. Contractors may offer homeowners a free asbestos assessment and, many times, some guidance with the removal process. While it may seem fairly simple, it is important to keep in mind that asbestos is serious and can be dangerous if not done correctly. Those that choose to remove asbestos on their own, however, should first close off the area to other areas of the home. Air ducts and ventilation systems should be covered with tape or plastic to prevent particles from contaminating other areas in the house. Those handling asbestos must also be prepared with proper protective gear, including a respirator and protective clothing. This clothing should be handled carefully after completing the project. It is also advised that asbestos be kept wet during the removal process to limit the amount of asbestos particles that are released into the air. Once the process is complete, the asbestos should be placed in tightly sealed bags and disposed of properly. Disposal laws of specific areas should be followed accordingly. It is also recommended that air sampling be performed after removal to test the air quality in the home.
Where Asbestos Removal is Necessary
Asbestos may be present in many products in a home, school, office building, etc., including the:
- Flooring tiles
- Ceiling tiles
- Wall insulation
- Plumbing insulation
- Furnace or boiler
- Bricks or stucco
- Ventilation duct insulation
Removing asbestos from these different types of asbestos-containing products requires a variety of techniques, depending on the form of asbestos (sheet, paper, sprayed-on, etc.).
Professional Asbestos Removal
The removal of asbestos is best left to a certified asbestos abatement company because of the dangers involved. When removing asbestos from products that contain it, or when these products are disturbed in any way, it is likely that asbestos fibers will be released into the air, where they may be inhaled by individuals in the area. The inhalation of asbestos fibers, which are too small to be seen, can cause respiratory disease, lung cancer, and mesothelioma cancer.
In some states, any company offering to remove asbestos from buildings must pass a rigorous asbestos removal regulations certification process. Professional asbestos removal workers use a vacuum ventilation system, special tools, and wetting agents to limit the release of asbestos fibers into the environment. They make every possible effort to remove all of the asbestos.
Asbestos Cancer Symptoms
If you have been exposed to asbestos through removal, or at work, and you have developed symptoms of an asbestos related disease, such as:
- Wheezing, coughing
- An abdominal mass
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
– You should seek medical help and consider treatment options immediately. Those that were unknowingly exposed to asbestos may also wish to seek the legal counsel of a lawyer or attorney that specializes in asbestos cases. If you would like to know more about the options available to you, contact mesothelioma treatment centers online.
Asbestos Removal Resources in US
If you know, or are concerned, about asbestos-containing materials in your home or at work and you suspect you are being exposed to asbestos, you may wish to consider having the asbestos removed. Removal of asbestos can be dangerous if the necessary precautions are not taken. In most cases, one is better off contacting a qualified asbestos removal contractor that is experienced with asbestos abatement procedures or an environmental consulting firm that is familiar with asbestos removal laws to find out if you are at risk of asbestos exposure and what your options are.