Home and Housing

How To: Safety Precautions for Asbestos Removal

Asbestos is one of the most dangerous minerals to have been used in commercial and residential buildings.  In recent times it has been restricted or banned from use in such applications by many jurisdictions across the US, and in other countries around the world. Prolonged exposure and inhalation can cause serious illness and mesothelioma, including lung cancer. If you have asbestos lurking in your home or office, don’t worry just yet. Common places you will find asbestos include:

  • Gutters and rainwater pipes
  • Garage and shed roofs
  • Wall linings
  • Insulation panels
  • Bath panels
  • Central heating components
  • Floor tiles

That’s right, it is very common and often in difficult to get to places. Replacing floor tiles in a room full of furniture is no easy job, and with a highly hazardous mineral to worry about too the job becomes even more difficult. But removal might not be completely necessary, asbestos is safe as long as it’s not damaged or disturbed. If it does get damaged, or you need to disturb it due to home renovation projects or such, then you will certainly need to get it removed to avoid any potential health implications…

Ideally you will want to hire a professional to get rid of your asbestos for you – and in some places the work MUST be carried out by a licensed professional, so make sure to check the legislation in your area before starting out any removal work by yourself.

Professionals are trained experts who know exactly what they are doing and will be able to handle your asbestos removal without any health concerns to you or your family. But if the law permits it and you feel capable of handling the removal job yourself, then there are a couple of safety precautions you should take note of before you get started:

white suit

Contain the Problem
The first step you’ll need to take is to contain the area where the asbestos removal is going to be taking place. Depending on where the asbestos is located the procedure will be different. Basically you will need to cover all non-asbestos surfaces with heavy polythene plastic sheets and fasten them securely with duct tape. If the sheeting is applied to the floor then it must not be any less than 6mm in thickness and should be applied in two layers for extra durability. For walls and ceilings a 3mm thickness is suitable.

Once that’s done you will need to build an ‘airlock’ at the entrance to the room where your removal work is going on. It’s important to make sure everything is kept wet as this helps to keep the asbestos fibers immobile. You can dampen everything using a sprayer or a hose pipe.

Use Protective Gear
The minimum amount of protective gear you need to perform asbestos removal will be disposable coveralls (with booties and a hood built in), a respirator with HEPA cartridges, rubber gloves, and some form of protection for your eyes. It’s also advisable to use some rubber boots to ensure you don’t tear the protective sheeting laid out on the floor.

Dispose of it Properly
Some states have certain regulations when it comes to disposing of asbestos waste, so be sure to check your local requirements before you dispose of your asbestos. In most cases it’s safe to dispose of unwanted asbestos in 6mm plastic zip-lock bags which have clear “ASBESTOS HAZARD” markings on them. Once sealed and secured you should contact your local department of environmental quality to find out which landfill sites are authorized to take asbestos waste.

If possible you are much better off avoiding asbestos from the get-go, so if you’re looking to buy a new property then it’s worth making sure that there is not excessive use of asbestos in any of the properties you’re looking at. Home inspection services can detect problematic asbestos applications within homes and provide solid advice for you. If in doubt, always seek help from a qualified professional.

Author Bio: Jessica Taylor loves everything to do with the home and can be found sharing tips and advice on interior design, home improvement, and gardening on a range of home styling blogs around the net. When she’s not busy working with Nexus Asbestos Reroof or juggling her own home improvement projects she enjoys taking long walks with her dog Mollie!

 

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