How Asbestos Abatement Works

While asbestos is no longer used in home construction, older homes may still contain materials requiring reduced. Some of these materials are friable and can release microscopic asbestos fibers when disturbed.

After the abatement work is completed, a third-party firm must conduct air testing to verify that the area is safe for reoccupation. Testing results are available to the abatement firm and Environmental Health & Safety’s project manager. Click to learn more.

asbestos abatement

While asbestos use is now heavily regulated, the problem persists in many older homes and buildings. Homeowners should know how to visually identify asbestos so they can take the appropriate precautions. If they do discover asbestos in their homes, they should immediately contact a licensed abatement professional to arrange for its removal and disposal.

Depending on the type and extent of work, an asbestos abatement professional may need to set up a containment area to protect those not working on contaminated areas from any exposure. This can include airlocks, multi-chamber decon units and showers, along with heavy plastic sheeting that is erected like a tent over the entire work area.

A key piece of information homeowners should note is that there are two types of asbestos: friable and non-friable. The former is brittle and can crumble with minimal pressure, putting anyone nearby at risk of inhalation. The latter is sturdier, but over time can also become friable. Both types are considered hazardous and should be removed by a licensed abatement expert.

Asbestos is most often found in building materials, including roofing shingles, wall insulation, floor and ceiling tiles and paper products. It is also common in friction materials used for heat and sound insulation on hot and cold pipes, as well as wrappings and packing materials.

It is possible to detect asbestos by inspecting building materials and consumer items, though this is not foolproof. Typically, asbestos-containing materials will have a pattern of small dimples over the surface. This was done to prevent water from penetrating the material and causing damage. It is also possible to see an asbestos-containing material if it has been damaged, as fibers will release into the air.

In some cases, it may be more cost effective and safer for people not working on asbestos-containing materials to repair the materials rather than remove them completely. This can be done by sealing the asbestos or covering it with another material that is unlikely to release any fibers. It is important to consult an asbestos abatement specialist before attempting any repairs or coverings, however, as they may need to be tested for the presence of asbestos.

Asbestos abatement requires a team of trained professionals to safely handle the material. They must wear protective suits and respirators to ensure that they don’t become contaminated with the asbestos themselves. The hygienists will also use specialized equipment to inspect your building and identify potential hazards. Once they’ve made a plan, they’ll set up a containment area in the affected areas. This area is sealed off, typically with plastic sheeting and tape. This prevents asbestos fibers from escaping the work zone and infiltrating other parts of your facility. The hygienists might cut off the ventilation system in this area, too, so that dirty air doesn’t circulate throughout your facility.

Once the work area is isolated, your waste management professional will test the air in that area to make sure that no asbestos has escaped the abatement site. This is done using a technique called polarized light microscopy, which locates microscopic particles. They may also perform air quality tests to see if there are any harmful substances present in the air. The hygienists also might install an air filtration unit in the containment area to create a negative pressure environment. This device will exhaust contaminated air through a HEPA filter to the outside. This prevents back drafting through the filter and introducing dangerous materials into the containment area.

This filtration system will also keep contaminants from spreading to other areas of your facility during the abatement process. This is especially important if the work is being conducted in an occupied space, where airborne asbestos could travel through vents to other rooms and pose a risk for those people.

Once this system is in place, your waste management professional will begin the process of removing the asbestos from your facility. They’ll start by wetting the asbestos and cutting it with various tools. They’ll then put the debris into durable, air-tight bags and containers for disposal. Your waste management professional will take these containers to a certified landfill for proper disposal.

Asbestos abatement is a complex procedure that should be handled only by a qualified, licensed professional. If you suspect that your building contains asbestos, call a trusted and experienced asbestos contractor to conduct a thorough inspection and recommend the best course of action for your facility.

After the initial inspection and assessment, your abatement service provider will draw up a plan to determine what steps need to be taken in order to safely remove the asbestos. This will involve isolating the affected area, providing building occupants with a safe way to exit the premises, and ensuring that no fibers are released into non-affected areas of your building.

During the abatement process, specialized technicians will wear protective clothing to ensure their health and safety as they work in close proximity with dangerous materials. Air quality monitoring will be done throughout the project, as well as afterward to confirm that no asbestos fibers have been released into the environment.

Different types of asbestos pose varying levels of risk during the abatement process. This is because some asbestos containing materials are less likely to break up or crumble, and release potentially hazardous asbestos particles into the air. For example, roofing shingles that are still intact will pose a lower risk than those that have become worn, and thus are more likely to break apart and cause airborne asbestos exposure.

The type of asbestos that is being removed, the state it is in and where in your building or home it is located will all affect how hazardous it is to remove and dispose of. If you are worried about the safety of an asbestos abatement project, you can check in with local and national government agencies to ensure that the contractors you hire are following all appropriate regulations. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are two primary federal authorities that set guidelines regarding the handling and disposal of asbestos.

It’s important to choose an asbestos removal company that specializes in this field and has experience working in residential and commercial buildings. Some companies will also provide remediation services and demolition, and may offer more comprehensive asbestos management options. This is because many abatement projects require a multifaceted approach in order to achieve the desired results.

Before starting on the abatement process, your service provider will clearly mark off all areas that are to be worked on. This will allow the abatement crew to easily find and access the affected areas without contaminating other parts of your building. They will also cut off your HVAC system so that dirty air cannot circulate throughout your facility, and will seal off any areas that aren’t being worked on with tarps.

When asbestos abatement is complete, a third-party tester conducts air sampling. This process ensures that the work was done properly and that the area can be reoccupied. If the contractor fails the test, they must decontaminate the area, clean up their equipment and containments and perform additional testing. Once the test passes, they can dismantle their containment barriers and remove their work areas.

It’s important to note that even if an asbestos abatement project is successful, there are still risks for building occupants. If the project involved friable asbestos-containing materials or a plenum space, for example, the asbestos fibers could reenter the system and be distributed throughout the entire building. These asbestos-containing particles can pose a respiratory threat to building occupants as they are inhaled. Inhaling these asbestos fibers can lead to a number of severe diseases, including mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Hospitals are a special concern for asbestos abatement because of the critical patient care services they provide. The abatement work disrupts these services and creates a risk of airborne asbestos particles, which can present inhalation hazards for patients and staff. Additionally, hospitals are populated with individuals who may be more sensitive to construction dust in general, such as children and the elderly.

Asbestos abatement isn’t an easy task. It requires an experienced and trained team of professionals who follow strict guidelines to ensure the safety of workers and building occupants. There are many abatement companies that specialize in different areas of the job. Some focus solely on removal, while others offer a full menu of remediation and restoration services. When choosing an abatement company, it’s best to find one that offers a comprehensive menu of services and follows the appropriate procedures for every step of the asbestos process.

An asbestos abatement company should also be able to provide clients with documentation of all work completed during the abatement project. This paperwork should include waste shipment records, inspection reports, and copies of all applicable licensing. It’s important to keep all abatement documentation organized in a safe location where it won’t be disturbed or lost.