Asbestos has been widely used in thousands of building materials over the course of history. Its naturally occurring availability, low cost, fire resistance, high tensile strength, and poor heat/electrical conductivity make it well suited for various uses in the construction trade. Little wonder that the word “asbestos” is derived from a Greek word meaning unquenchable or indestructible!
If you live in an older home, one that was built prior to 1980, asbestos-containing material could be present both inside and outside of your home. Because asbestos poses a tremendous health and safety risk, its presence in your home (or other building) must be detected and managed or eliminated as quickly as possible, especially if you are planning renovation projects in the future. Learn more about asbestos exposure in the Colorado area.
While asbestos proved to be a substance of great use in the construction industry, the catastrophic health effects caused by airborne asbestos fibers prompted significant changes in its use. Since 1971, recommendations and regulations from federal, state, and local agencies are in place for the effective management of intact asbestos containing materials (ACMs), its repair, or its removal.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, the best thing to do with asbestos material in good condition is to leave it alone. If the ACM is damaged or will be disturbed by renovations, repair or removal will be necessary. Repair options include encapsulation of the area using a sealant or enclosure of the material with something that will prevent fibers being released into the air. Repair is usually less expensive than removal. However, in some instances total removal is the best course of action.
Here are answers to frequently asked questions about asbestos removal.
When Does Asbestos Need to be Removed?
Because removal poses the greatest risk for releasing fibers into the air, removal should be the last option unless it is required by state or local regulations. Removal will be necessary if renovations or remodeling work will be done, since disturbing the area can release harmful fibers into the air. ACM will also need to be removed if it is extensively damaged and cannot be repaired.
Who Can Perform Asbestos Removal?
Asbestos removal is a complex process and must be performed by an experienced and properly accredited contractor. Asbestos professionals are trained to handle asbestos and will operate in compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations. This is very important because improper removal can actually increase the health risks to you and your family.
What Kind of Training Do Asbestos Professionals Receive?
Training courses are available from the federal government, as well as state and local governments throughout the country. Upon successful completion of the training, participants can become certified. In addition to asbestos professionals, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to establish and continue participation in an asbestos training program for employees that might be exposed to fiber levels that are either anticipated or measured at/above permissible exposure limits.
What is Involved in the Removal Process?
Asbestos removal is a three-step process. First, the affected area is carefully sealed to prevent any airborne fibers from contaminating other areas. Second, the asbestos within the area is carefully removed following strict guidelines and placed in sealed disposal containers by a team of certified technicians who are wearing protective equipment and respirators. Finally, the area is thoroughly cleaned using special HEPA-filtered vacuums and cleaners to ensure that all traces of asbestos are removed.
What Happens to the ACM After it is Removed?
Once removed, asbestos materials must be placed in a sealed dumpster and disposed of at an approved asbestos disposal site. A certificate will accompany the asbestos materials so that it is properly labeled as toxic, hazardous waste. Proper disposal is very important to ensure that asbestos materials are undisturbed and do not pose any further health hazards.
Remember, there are strict guidelines that must be followed for the handling, removal, and disposal of asbestos. Removal should only be performed by a licensed asbestos removal contractor since disturbing asbestos can be even more hazardous than leaving it alone. If you need help dealing with asbestos in your home or business, give us a call at 303-529-1257. We are fully trained and experienced in asbestos removal, and we know how to safely remove asbestos from your property without putting you or others at risk.