Asbestos is a dangerous material, and it can cause serious conditions when inhaled. The microscopic fibers can stay in the lungs and lead to breathing difficulties and cancer.
Only a professional Asbestos Removal WA should perform self-removal. They will get a demolition permit and follow local, state, and federal regulations.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring material used in various building products and construction materials. The problem is that when asbestos fibers are released, they can be inhaled into the lungs, leading to various medical issues, including lung cancer, asbestosis (a scarring of the lungs), and mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the lungs). Because of this, it is important to watch for potential asbestos in your home or business.
You won’t be able to see asbestos with your naked eye, but you may be able to identify a suspected asbestos-containing material by its texture and color. Asbestos fibers are very thin and can be woven into other materials to create various colors and textures. Generally, asbestos-containing materials are blue, brown, or white and often crumble easily if touched.
While you are unlikely to find asbestos in a bathroom, it is still worth checking the walls and ceilings for it. Asbestos was a popular insulation material because of its fireproofing properties, and it was also added to many building products such as paints, floor tiles, adhesives, Artex, and textured decorative coatings on walls and ceilings (Artex).
It is also worth checking the materials in other areas of your house for asbestos. For example, asbestos was often used in corrugated roofing and wall cladding, as well as in soffit material and door frames. It was also commonly used in vermiculite insulation and as thermal insulation wrap on pipes and boilers (these look like shiny accordion-like pebbles).
If you suspect you have any suspected asbestos in your home, don’t touch it. Instead, contact an asbestos removal specialist to survey the material and have it tested. Once the results are known, a properly trained asbestos removalist can remove the material safely. If the material is not brittle, it will need to be sealed and bagged and should be placed in a secure waste container for disposal. If the material is deemed flaky, it must be removed in an enclosed work area with air-supplied or air-purifying respiratory protection that filters asbestos fibers fitted to each worker individually. Disposable coveralls, hoods that prevent penetration of asbestos fibers, and impermeable gloves are also required.
Unless you have the right training and experience, it’s best to let a professional take samples. Doing it yourself can cause a greater risk of spreading debris and potentially exposing yourself to asbestos dust.
It’s also important to only sample material that you will not disturb during the cleaning and disposal process. Material that is in good condition and will not be disturbed should be left alone, even if it’s suspected of having asbestos.
If you must take a sample, wear personal protective equipment (RPE), including a face mask, disposable gloves, and rubber boots. Shut down any heating or cooling systems and do the sampling on a non-windy day. Spread a plastic drop sheet on the ground to catch any materials that may fall during the sampling process. Wet the area using a spray bottle with a small amount of water and a few drops of detergent before taking a sample to reduce the release of asbestos fibers.
To get a representative sample, cut, break, pinch, scrape, or gather a small amount of the building material — a tablespoon or quarter size is typically enough. Sample an inconspicuous place, such as a closet or corner.
If the material is bonded, it will not release asbestos unless disturbed or damaged, but if it’s friable, it can release fibers into the air. Related asbestos-containing materials include a range of household products, such as duct tape, drywall compound, floor, wall, ceiling tile, cement pipe, and attic insulation, which can be made from either cellulose or vermiculite.
The EPA recommends at least three samples of a homogenous material to determine if it contains asbestos. When evaluating asbestos-containing materials, bulk sampling is preferred over spot testing because it allows the laboratory to see how the material looks as a whole rather than just one small section.
If the sample shows the presence of asbestos, the material is considered ACM. A professional laboratory can evaluate the sample to determine the type and level of asbestos, which is important for proper disposal. The EPA requires any material that contains asbestos to be sent to an approved waste facility for processing.
Asbestos is no longer a common building material, but it lingers in many structures. It can be dangerous if the fibers become airborne and inhaled, so it’s important to hire a professional asbestos abatement contractor for any work that could disturb the material. The abatement process includes both removal and encapsulation.
Before starting any asbestos abatement, the contractor will perform an on-site evaluation. During this evaluation, they will explain how they plan to set up containment and decontamination areas. They will also discuss how they will clean up and the timeline for the entire project. They will need to obtain a permit from the Environmental Health and Safety Department before beginning any work on the project.
Once the work begins, contractors will isolate the area with plastic and turn off the heating and cooling system. This will ensure that dust doesn’t spread throughout the house. Asbestos abatement contractors will wear disposable suits and hoods, gloves, shoe covers, and respirators. They will also monitor air quality outside the work area. This is done to ensure no asbestos fibers enter the non-abatement areas.
During the asbestos abatement process, workers will remove any material that contains asbestos from surfaces and substrates. They may also encapsulate certain materials, such as pipe lagging, with a sealant. The contractors will then clean the area and leave it ready for re-inspection. Once the work is complete, the reduction and inspection professionals will help you create a preventive plan for your home.
When hiring an asbestos abatement company, ensure they have a proven track record of providing high-quality work. They should be licensed and insured, and they should be able to provide a list of references. The contractor should be willing to go over their work history and explain how they will protect you and your family from harm.
It is also a good idea to ask the asbestos abatement contractor for a copy of their permit and insurance information before hiring them. This will give you peace of mind that they are a legitimate business. Additionally, you can contact regulatory inspectors to verify that they have the necessary permits for your project.
Asbestos-containing materials must be disposed of carefully to protect public health, safety, and the environment. This includes identifying all ACMs, properly labeling and warning signage, wetting waste materials to reduce the risk of fibers spreading if the container breaks, and using only leakproof containers such as plastic bags of six mil thickness or thicker containers or sheeting.
All workers should wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, respirators, and eye protection. They should also use a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuum cleaner to clean the work area after each step. It is important to keep work areas separate from uncontaminated spaces. This can be done by physically closing the work area or sealing it with tarps and heavy-duty adhesives.
Disposal involves taking the asbestos waste away from the generation site and placing it in a designated place where it will not be disturbed or contaminated. The process is called “presentation for storage.” It starts when the waste is moved from the generation site into a holding location and continues until it is taken to another location for disposal.
In most cases, a permit is required to perform demolition work that includes the removal of asbestos. The permit must be obtained from the local building or permitting department. The permit will require a specific plan to be submitted that outlines how the asbestos will be removed and where it will be sent for disposal.
The type of disposal method used will depend on the material, its condition, and the state or local regulations. Some options include blending, milling, or crushing the waste material into a nonhazardous product that can be reused in construction or other applications. Many recycling methods also significantly reduce the volume of asbestos waste, which helps save landfill space and lowers disposal costs since pricing is often based on volume. Moreover, these recycling processes help prevent the dumping of asbestos in landfills, which shields landfill workers from exposure.