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Asbestos Removal – When to Call the Experts

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Asbestos Removal – When to Call the Experts

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was commonly used as fireproofing and insulation in buildings constructed before the 1980s. If your home or commercial building was built before this time, it likely contains asbestos materials. When asbestos is disturbed or damaged, it can release toxic particles and fibers into the air, which when inhaled, can cause serious illnesses like lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. Knowing when to call in professional asbestos abatement experts is crucial to protect yourself, your family, employees and tenants.

When Asbestos Becomes a Concern

Asbestos only poses a health risk when the fibers become airborne and are inhaled. Intact asbestos materials generally are not a concern. It’s when those materials become damaged, disturbed, or deteriorate over time that the asbestos fibers can be released into the air. Here are some instances when it’s vital to call in professional asbestos removal services:

  • Renovations or demolitions – Any renovation or demolition work in a pre-1980s building has the high likelihood of disturbing asbestos that is hidden in walls, flooring, ceilings, insulation, roofing, siding etc. Licensed abatement professionals must handle the removal safely.

  • Water, fire or storm damage – Damage from water leaks, fires or storms can disturb asbestos materials and cause the release of fibers. The damaged materials must be properly remediated.

  • DIY renovations – Well-meaning DIYers may unknowingly disturb hidden asbestos when doing renovations or repairs around the home. Always have suspected materials tested before taking on any demolition work in an older home.

  • Signs of damage – Friable asbestos insulation around pipes, cracked or crumbling cement asbestos board, or broken vinyl asbestos floor tiles are signs of damage that can release fibers.

  • Airborne fibers – Friable asbestos materials that show signs of wear can release fibers into the air. Airborne asbestos is a major health hazard.

Professional Asbestos Removal

Specialized training and equipment is required to contain, properly remove, dispose of, and clean up after asbestos disturbance. Licensed asbestos professionals follow strict regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to protect themselves and the public from asbestos exposure.

Asbestos Assessment

Asbestos inspectors must first assess whether materials contain asbestos. They will survey the home or building and take small samples to be tested by a lab. The inspector provides a report identifying all asbestos locations.

Asbestos Removal

Once asbestos is located, specially trained asbestos workers must take safety precautions:

  • Encapsulate the area with plastic sheeting to prevent contamination
  • Wear protective respirator masks, disposable suits, gloves and footwear
  • Use specialized vacuums with HEPA filters when cleaning up asbestos
  • Wet down asbestos materials before removal to prevent fiber release
  • Seal asbestos waste in leak-proof containers for disposal at approved asbestos landfills

Certifications

Always verify any asbestos contractor you hire is licensed and all asbestos workers have been certified for asbestos removal. This ensures they follow the stringent procedures to keep you and your family safe from exposure.

When to Call the Asbestos Experts

Asbestos that is properly contained and undisturbed does not pose a health risk. It’s when DIYers, renovators or contractors disturb materials without testing and safety precautions that asbestos can become a dangerous threat. Do not take chances with asbestos. Call accredited expert asbestos removal professionals if you have:

  • Renovations planned in a pre-1980s home
  • Observed water or storm damage, or fire damage
  • Noticed signs of damaged asbestos materials
  • Concerns about potential asbestos exposure

Licensed abatement experts have the experience, knowledge, equipment and training to handle asbestos safely and legally. Protect yourself and your family by relying on asbestos professionals anytime the material is disturbed in your home or building.

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