Asbestos refers to a naturally occurring mineral comprising of tiny fibres that become airborne when disturbed. You are likely to find asbestos-containing material in most residential buildings built between the 1940s and late 1980s. During this period, asbestos was desirable because of its durability, fire-resistant, and insulation properties. However, exposure to asbestos fibres, through breathing, can lead to severe health problems, such as lung cancer and asbestosis. Therefore, asbestos disposal and removal should be conducted by a certified individual because of the risks involved.
Potential asbestos products
In older homes, asbestos is either loosely or firmly bound in different materials. Firmly bound asbestos can be found in artificial brick cladding, flue pipes, exterior fibre cement cladding and weatherboards, corrugated cement roofing, textured paint, cement pipe columns, vinyl floor tiles and other coverings, and flexible building boards such as bathroom linings, cement tile, and eave linings. On the other hand, loosely bound asbestos can be found in insulation materials in hot water pipes, heaters, stoves, and ceiling insulation products. However, this list is not exhaustive, and a homeowner might need to check with their respective local authority for a checklist on asbestos-containing materials.
Professional asbestos removal
Because of the inherent risks associated with asbestos removal, it is highly recommended that you hire a certified and licenced asbestos removalist. Such experts use the right tools and equipment, thereby ensuring that asbestos fibres are not released into the air. Check with your local council or state for a list of asbestos removalists in your area. Professionals also use the right personal protective equipment such as safety gloves, hard hat, vest/jacket, safety glasses, and steel-toe cap boots.
After ascertaining the sources of asbestos, it is time to remove the asbestos. Notably, you should never try to cut, drill, sand, saw, scrape, dismantle, demolish, water blast, or scrub asbestos. A licensed professional will use the right tools and technique to remove asbestos without disturbing the asbestos-containing material.
Remember that it is illegal to dispose of asbestos in an improper manner, such as in landfills. Therefore, you should work with a removalist to ensure the safe transport and disposal of asbestos. All asbestos-containing materials should be double-bagged in heavy-duty plastic and sealed with tape. Besides, the package should be labelled with warning signs such as "Caution-Asbestos." Also, the bags used for packaging asbestos-containing materials should include ultra-violet protectors to prevent sunlight damage. The packages should be taken for disposal in approved asbestos disposal facilities.