How to remove asbestos safely
Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral comprised of varying concentrations of tremolite, actinolite, anthophyllite, chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite. These minerals, though they occur in nature, can cause serious illnesses in people who are exposed to high amounts. Asbestos is most commonly found in the fibers of aging construction materials, and asbestos removal is required in any building displaying high levels of these minerals. Asbestos is considered a form of hazardous waste.
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Asbestos is a leading cause of lung-related diseases, and it is the principal cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer of the chest, abdominal lining and lungs. Over time, asbestos exposure also causes asbestosis, which scars the delicate tissues coating the lungs and windpipe.
Asbestos fibers are not currently contained in any product; however, if your home or place of business was erected or updated prior to 1980, an inspection may be needed to determine if asbestos remediation is necessary.
Common items that may contain asbestos material include insulation, floor tiles, door gaskets, siding, cement roofing and shingles. While many of these products contain asbestos fibers, there is little threat of asbestos overexposure unless the material is cut, torn or damaged.
Additionally, asbestos is not visible to the naked eye. In fact, even the most thoroughly trained and qualified professional is not able to identify asbestos material unless it is labeled. If you suspect asbestos material may be present in your home or place of business, treat all suspected substances as contaminated and avoid contact with them. Generally, materials that contain asbestos but are still in good condition will not pose health hazards. Nonetheless, even though these materials may not pose a threat at present, future contamination is possible. Major indicators that asbestos removal may be necessary include rips, tears, abrasions or exaggerated wear in items that contain asbestos fibers.
When choosing an asbestos removal professional, do not allow price to be the only factor you consider. Those offering low prices may not offer the best asbestos remediation; likewise, the highest price is not a guarantee of the best or most effective service. Look for professionals with proper training, certification, extensive experience and a history of reliability.
Currently, training courses for prospective asbestos removal professionals are regulated by the federal government. Additionally, the Environmental Protective Agency also requires approved training, certification and licensing before it will recognize the qualifications of a particular individual. The professional of your choice should have these certifications, which should be verified before the company begins removing asbestos. After you select an asbestos removal company, stay away from the site until the work is completed.
Asbestos Removal Process
In terms of the asbestos siding removal process, the removal company should provide a decontamination truck or trailer which should have the ability to be attached to the contaminated building framework. Depending on the severity of the damage, it may be necessary for building residents to seek temporary shelter at another location until the asbestos removal has been completed.
During the asbestos disposal process, plastic and nylon threads are installed and reinforced with ply to avoid contaminating other areas of the building. Anything that has come into contact with asbestos will have to be disposed of or cleaned and sprayed.
Professionals must also wear protective garments, including shielding suits with attachable masks, to prevent inhalation of asbestos fibers. Any remaining asbestos material is then washed down with a soap and water solution to prevent the release of asbestos fibers into the air. All objects are placed in separate trailers or stored in properly labeled, leak-proof containers.
Next, any leftover material is vacuumed with a specialized, high-powered unit. Finally, surfaces are scraped and washed, and the removal company may opt to lock down any suspect areas that may remain. Asbestos shingle removal and asbestos flooring removal are done using a very similar method.
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