How to Deal with Asbestos

If you currently live in a home that was built before 1980, there is a strong chance that an asbestos contractor will find asbestos during an inspection. Many materials used in building homes prior to 1980 contained asbestos due to its fire-resistant and insulating properties. Asbestos has been used in wall and ceiling plasters, tiles, wallboard, floor mastics, and much more. If the materials that contain asbestos remain undamaged, there is little reason to be concerned. However, if the material gets disturbed, then asbestos particles can release into the air and get inhaled or ingested by those who live in the home. 

Why a Licensed Inspector is Needed

Unless the materials that contain asbestos are labeled clearly, it is difficult to figure out where they are located. A licensed asbestos contractor can test samples of materials in your home that look suspicious. Attempting to run a test for asbestos yourself is not recommended, as there is always the danger of accidentally releasing fibers into the air when getting a sample. If you are unsure whether an area of your home has asbestos, it is best to assume that it does and leave it alone until a professional can come by and handle it safely. Depending on what the asbestos contractor finds, he or she may suggest:

  • Unless you are planning to do a home renovation project, just leave the area alone so that you do not disturb the asbestos fibers. 
  • Encapsulating the material, which is a method of sealing a surface so that materials which have asbestos in them are prevented from being airborne. This approach can be suitable if the material is in good condition and does not have a soft or “crumbly” texture. 
  • Covering the asbestos-containing area, such as using a cover or sleeve to surround it. 

Asbestos Safety Tips

As stated above, never attempt to remove an asbestos material from your home unless you are a trained professional. Asbestos is a very hazardous mineral, and no level of ingesting or inhaling it is safe. Even a few microscopic fibers can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, or other types of cancers. An asbestos contractor may provide you with the following safety tips: 

  • Do not try to remove asbestos-containing insulation, insulation board, or spray coatings. This is a much more complex task than it may seem at first, and requires training and special equipment to safely perform. 
  • Do not drill, sand, saw, or use other power tools on asbestos materials. 
  • Always seek professional insight if you are thinking about removing asbestos, or are considering home renovations in the near future. 
  • If you accidentally disturbed asbestos, never handle it with your bare hands, place all materials into a waste disposal bag, keep the floor and debris damp to reduce dust, and remove the asbestos without breaking it apart further.

Keeping you and your family safe from asbestos exposure should be a priority, as the impacts from breathing or ingesting airborne fibers can lead to devastating diseases. If you need assistance removing asbestos material from your place of residence, then the next step is contacting a reputable Los Angeles asbestos contractor today. 

Thanks to Nielsen Environmental for their insight into asbestos removal and why to use an inspector and removal contractor.