Everything You Need To Know About Asbestos Removal
We’ve all seen commercials about asbestos exposure and health risks. “If you or a loved one has mesothelioma due to asbestos, you may be entitled to compensation.” What is asbestos, where do you find it, and why is it so harmful?
Unfortunately, this dangerous material still exists in homes and buildings across the country. Removing it from your facility is essential to maintaining the health and safety of your employees and clients. If you suspect the presence of this poison, here’s everything you need to know about asbestos removal to prepare.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous mineral. Since it’s organic, you’d think it would be completely safe! However, medical professionals have linked asbestos exposure to countless medical problems for decades.
Many exposed people report respiratory, neurological, and developmental problems. Cancers like mesothelioma infect the lungs and organ linings, while asbestosis creates irreparable damage to your respiratory system. If you’re around asbestos while pregnant, your child may develop neurological and developmental problems postpartum.
Why Is Asbestos Still Around?
Before doctors knew about the health risks, asbestos was a common building material. Its fiber-like consistency made it heat-resistant, making it the perfect material for building insulation. It wasn’t until the 1970s that professionals discovered asbestos’s carcinogenic nature.
While officials outlawed asbestos use in the late 1900s, you may still find the material in old structures. There’s a strong likelihood your facility previously or currently contained asbestos if it existed before the 1970s.
Parts of a Building That May Contain Asbestos
If you’re worried about asbestos in your commercial or industrial building, you’ll need to know where to look for it. Asbestos contamination is common in the following places:
- Ceiling tiles
- Roof shingles
- Popcorn ceilings
- Cement sheets
The Asbestos Abatement Process
Professionals refer to asbestos removal as “asbestos abatement.” The goal is to reduce the amount of the material to a manageable level. OSHA asbestos regulations say that permissible levels cannot exceed “0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air.”
However, industrial hygienists aim to eliminate its presence entirely. Keep reading to learn what a typical asbestos abatement plan looks like.
Step One: Inspection and Testing
Every asbestos removal project starts with an inspection. Your waste management professional will examine your facility and identify hazardous environments.
They aren’t necessarily looking for asbestos, since the material is nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. However, experts need to familiarize themselves with a building’s layout to make a safe and effective plan.
They’ll likely take samples of various materials for testing. Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) is a common testing method that will find asbestos in building samples. Professionals will also perform air-quality tests to locate microscopic fibers in an air system.
Step Two: Demarcation and Evacuation
Once your service provider confirms the presence of asbestos, they’ll draw up a detailed plan covering locations and timelines. Then, they’ll need your help evacuating staff members and clients from the building.
Next, professionals will clearly mark all infected areas. This way, your healthy areas will remain in good condition. Clear demarcation provides abatement technicians an efficient path to follow.
Step Three: Sealing the Work Area
Sealing the affected areas is one of the most important parts of the asbestos abatement process. You don’t want any fibers or particles contaminating clean areas of your building. Not only will this create more work, but you risk leaving dangerous materials behind, making the entire process counterproductive.
Firstly, professionals will cut off your building’s HVAC system. This way, dirty air won’t circulate throughout the facility. Secondly, they’ll physically close off any sections that don’t need work with tarps and heavy-duty adhesives.
Before the abatement process begins, your service provider will perform one final inspection to confirm the containment of the work areas. While such caution might seem excessive, they are necessary to guarantee the health and safety of everyone entering your building.
Step Four: Material Elimination
Once your facility is secure, your service provider can start the removal process. If the asbestos contamination isn’t too severe, they may coat the area with a sealant to prevent exposure. This situation is ideal since it doesn’t require any dismantling and reassembly.
Professionals must physically remove concentrated asbestos from your building. Technicians will first wet the materials and cut them out using various tools. Wetting asbestos before removal is critical; the extra moisture prevents particles from floating around.
Step Five: Storage and Removal
Since asbestos is highly toxic, professionals can’t just store or dump it anywhere. They’ll bring durable, air-tight disposal bags and containers to remove the toxic minerals from your facility. Receptacles must have strong linings to prevent leakage or cross-contamination.
Waste management professionals will then take the asbestos to a certified landfill. Usually, dump sites will bury the material in their containers for final disposal.
However, some asbestos-infected materials are recyclable. High-heat treatment processes transform asbestos into non-toxic ceramic fibers. Talk to the waste disposal service to see if asbestos recycling is appropriate for your materials.
Step Six: Cleanup
The post-removal cleanup process is extensive for a good reason. Asbestos fibers are microscopic, and clearing contaminants is challenging once they are airborne. Technicians use vacuums with HEPA filters to clear the environment.
They’ll use wet methods to wipe down surfaces, ceilings, floors, and equipment. Service providers will also perform extensive air and material testing to confirm asbestos levels are below OSHA regulations. Once they’re satisfied with the results, they will dismantle their workspace and leave your facility good as new.
Why Professional Asbestos Removal Is Essential
Asbestos abatement isn’t something you can do on your own. You need extensive knowledge of the material and removal process to do it safely. Professionals have the training and equipment necessary to remove asbestos without risking their health.
Removing asbestos requires specialized PPE like gowns, goggles, face masks, and ventilators. Professionals also have the right resources and connections to remove and dispose of affected materials in accordance with OSHA and the EPA. Breaking these laws has enormous consequences your business can’t afford.
Remove Asbestos With Clean Management Environmental Group
Now that you know everything about asbestos removal, you can hire Clean Management Environmental Group to do the job right. We offer extensive industrial waste disposal services to improve your facility’s health and safety conditions. We’ll take care of everything, from inspection to disposal, so contact us today!