Materials containing asbestos can be found around many buildings and should be handled with care. Asbestos can be harmful to a person´s health and it is recommended that if you find signs of the material in your home or work place you should arrange to have it removed at the earliest possible convenience. To help you this guide explains the safest way of removing asbestos.
If you do find asbestos in your home, don´t panic. Asbestos is only harmful if it is damaged or worn and releases dust into the environment. There are three types of asbestos; Chrysotile (white), Amosite (brown), Crocidolite (blue) and can be found in the construction of garages, sheds, behind fire surrounds, cement sheets, roof tiles, insulation, walls, eaves, spouts, artex, drainpipes, flue pipes and water systems.
If you find signs of asbestos in your home or workplace you should arrange to have it removed. With the right safety instructions and equipment it is possible to do this yourself in some circumstances, but if you are uncertain about what you are doing or simply want peace of mind then seek the help of a professional asbestos removal contractor.
The Dos and Don´ts of Asbestos Removal
Remember that asbestos is only dangerous when it breaks and releases dust into the air, therefore under any circumstances, do not drill, smash up anything that may contain asbestos or put removed materials into a dustbin or down a rubbish chute. Whatever material it is that contains the asbestos should be removed in one piece and wrapped in a polythene sheet and marked in clear visible letters ASBESTOS. Plastic sheets should also be used to cover the floor and walls to collect dust that escapes whilst you are working.
Wearing protective clothing is very important when removing asbestos. You will need a dust mask that is certified as suitable for use with the removal of asbestos, and a disposable overall. You can keep the amount of asbestos dust to a minimum by wetting the material you are working with before, during and after it removal. If the surface area you are removing is likely to be connected with electricity make sure the mains are switched off.
Cleaning up after asbestos removal
No matter how cautious you are to prevent asbestos dust from escaping into the environment or the amount of protection you cover the working area in, it is inevitable that small specks of dust will still be in the air. When the material containing asbestos has been removed together with the protective covers, allow the dust to settle. The work area should then be washed down with a damp cloth which should be sealed in a plastic bag and marked ASBESTOS. Your work overalls should also be dampened and disposed of in marked plastics bags. Wash well afterwards, especially your hair.
Do not use domestic vacuum cleaners to hoover asbestos dust. Industrial cleaners designed specifically for the job can be hired. The plastic bags should then be taken to a disposal site that is licensed to handle asbestos and report to the attendant that you have bundles of asbestos.
Although asbestos is a dangerous substance if not handled with care, approaching the problem with the correct safety measures and equipment will ensure the safe removal of asbestos. It’s always advisable to employ Asbestos Consultants when removing asbestos removal, as they will have seen your scenario many times before.
Image Credits: US Army Environmental Command and Asbestos Testing.