Hiring an asbestos abatement company, and not doing it yourself, is the wisest and safest decision when it comes to removing asbestos from any residential, commercial or public building. Asbestos abatement companies will properly test for the toxic mineral, follow strict regulations and processes, and carry the right abatement removal equipment to keep them, others and you safe from exposure.
Understanding the Dangers of Asbestos
Although asbestos isn’t banned in the U.S., its use is limited. However, asbestos-containing materials (ACM) still pose a danger to the public because they were common building products in homes, schools and other structures built before the 1980s.
Asbestos abatement involves the identification, removal, repair and encapsulation of materials or products in a structure to eliminate the threat of exposure to toxic asbestos fibers. It’s best handled by a professional asbestos abatement company. About 3,000 people are diagnosed annually with mesothelioma in the U.S.
Common Asbestos-Containing Materials in Buildings
Because asbestos doesn’t burn, it was used in many products to resist heat. The “miracle mineral” made these asbestos-containing materials valuable to the building industry.
Reasons for Testing a Structure for Asbestos
Although asbestos-containing products are generally safe when left undisturbed, they become brittle over time and can crumble. But the popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects has heightened possible asbestos exposure.
- DIY Remodeling Projects
- Natural or Manmade Disasters Disturbed a Building’s Structure
- You Own a Structure Built Before 1980
- Crumbled, Worn or Broken Asbestos-Containing Materials Found in a Building
“Too many times with asbestos, the hazards are underestimated. If there is going to be what I call a ‘dusty operation’ (sanding, sawing or breaking materials) in an older home or building, you don’t want to do that without having it checked [for asbestos] first. And leave abatement to the professionals.”— Jack Leonard, president of Environmental Management Institute, Indianapolis
Why Is Asbestos Abatement Important?
If damaged asbestos-containing materials are not properly removed by an asbestos abatement company, they can endanger your life and the lives of others who come into contact with asbestos dust, fibers or raw asbestos materials.
Fast Facts About Asbestos
Inhaling or ingesting asbestos can lead to serious health issues such as mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques and asbestos lung cancer.
About 3,000 people are diagnosed annually with mesothelioma in the U.S. An estimated 10,000 people die annually from some type of asbestos-related disease.
Microscopic asbestos fibers are .01 microns thick (18,000 times thinner than a human hair).
Steps to Take if You Suspect Asbestos Contamination
The most important first step is to not touch the suspicious materials. Let a professional asbestos abatement company handle the job.
- Don’t Sweep, Vacuum or Dust Possible Asbestos Debris
- Don’t Remove Suspicious Materials
- Keep Children Out of Area
- Limit Activities in the Area
- Call a Licensed Asbestos Abatement Company
Tips for Hiring an Asbestos Abatement Company
Asbestos abatement companies are not all the same. Some specialize only in asbestos abatement, while others offer environmental services, demolition services and general contracting services that may include abatement.
Within the U.S., asbestos abatement regulations vary from state to state and city to city, some extend beyond the federal laws that require Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) licensing.
Homeowners are not legally required to use a licensed asbestos abatement company, but it is strongly recommended.
Before hiring an asbestos abatement company, verify its qualifications. Find the one that best suits your needs.
This post is brought to you to Asbestos.com. To read more, please visit https://www.asbestos.com/abatement-guide/