Asbestos is used in the construction of buildings because of its mechanical strength and insulation properties. It is not harmful as long as it remains intact, but when it breaks or crumbles, asbestos fibers spread in the air and they can cause harmful effects. These fibers should be removed as soon as possible to avoid any health hazards. In America, the use of asbestos has been reduced but not completely stopped.
Here, you will find all the necessary things you should know about the removal of it from your environment.
What is Asbestos
Asbestos, also known as “magic mineral” because of its beneficial applications in the construction and clothing industry. Asbestos has many types, it may be friable and non-friable. Besides its benefits, it is among the major and lethal airborne contaminants.
When remained untouched it is harmless, but when it is disturbed it can break or crumble easily, small fibers in it can be released in the air to corrupt it. These fibers can build up in your body over a long period and you may not find it until its too late. Therefore, even a small quantity of asbestos can cause harmful effects. According to an estimate, about 10,000 people die annually due to asbestos-related diseases.
The exposure to this can be very lethal and long-term exposure can lead to severe health conditions especially respiratory disorders, mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer, pleural plaque and can even cause death. These microscopic fibers cannot be seen from the naked eye and anybody can inhale or ingest them without realizing it.
It can act as a silent killer that’s why one must take substantial measures to eliminate it from the air. That’s why it is advisable to contact a professional to detect the presence of asbestos before building or renovating your house.
If you suspect asbestos contamination at your place you should take the following precautions :
- Do not touch any suspected contaminated material.
- Keep the kids away from that area and limit the activities in the contaminated area.
- Call a certified asbestos removal company. You can find one by searching Asbestos testing and removal companies near me or if you are near Vancouver area you can contact companies such as asbestosremovalanddemovancouver.com for help.
- Do not sweep or vacuum suspected asbestos debris.
Testing of Asbestos:
Such testing is vital for your own and your family or employees’ safety. Asbestos cannot be easily detected because it can not be seen from the naked eye and it does not have any smell. That’s why you need to call a certified abatement company because only professionals can identify any type of asbestos.
A professional removal company will do thorough testing of the suspected areas. Samples must be drawn from every possible place for testing, every layer of roof, drywalls, and plasters is analyzed. Specialized tools, equipment, and techniques are used to collect and test the samples.
While performin these tests, a minimum of two samples must be taken. One sample is collected from the area of concern and the second sample is collected from outside or in the “controlled environment”. If there are multiple suspected areas then multiple samples are collected.
Once samples are collected they are transferred to the laboratory for testing. Samples are tested using special procedures and then results are drawn. After testing is completed, a report is provided which inform about the degree of asbestos in the air as
Removal of asbestos:
Important things to consider before initiating the procedure:
- The person for the abatement process must be a licensed abatement contractor and have the right equipment for the task.
- If a non-licensed person is allowed to do the removal process, it may increase the health risk.
- Most of the insurance companies will not take responsibility for any work regarding asbestos. It is important to be aware that all the costs of the procedure must be paid by house or industry owner.
The asbestos abatement process requires specialized gadgets. A sealed chamber is created by a polyethylene sheet at the removal area and negative pressure is applied to it. Respirators and protective suits must be equipped.
Occupants are not allowed to enter the area during the abatement process. Special vacuum cleaners are used which are designed for asbestos contaminants. HEPA filters are the key tool in the removal of it.
HEPA filters stand for (High-efficiency particulate air filters), they are specialized mechanical filter designed to sterilize air by eliminating the airborne contaminants. HEPA air purifier and HEPA vacuum cleaners are used by professional companies for the removal of hazardous asbestos, molds, etc. to provide their costumers with pure air to breathe in. A sheet of fiber is installed in it which is capable of capturing asbestos contaminants. These fibers are solid particles that vary in size between 0.7 and 90 microns, while HEPA air filters can filter particles above and below 0.3 microns.
HEPA filter vs Asbestos
It is possible that asbestos is coming from an open-source such as a deteriorating wall or piping insulation, cracked ceiling, drywall joint compound, or some other source. Because HEPA air filters are designed to be absolutely effective only in the absence of any open sources of particle generation, it is impossible to completely cleanse the air before the contaminated area has been detected and handled masterly by trained and experienced professional.
Until the it has been remediated, the best you can hope for with a HEPA air filter is a minor reduction in the net density of fibers in the air by achieving equilibrium between particle production and eradication. That’s why it is important to identify and eliminate the source of asbestos first and then remove it present in the air.
Disposal of asbestos
It should be disposed of as indicated in the law to assure the safety of the environment and inhibit further contamination. These materials cannot be disposed of in normal dust bins and dumping sites. They should be properly packed in specific packaging and labeled before disposal at the allocated site. All the precautionary measures should be taken for the safe disposal of asbestos.