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How Asbestos Abatement or Removal Works

Friday, June 22, 2012

When you start looking for an asbestos abatement removal contractor, it may not yet have fully sunk in that you have asbestos in your home or office building. Asbestos is a building material that was commonly used decades ago, but breathing in asbestos dust has been linked to cancer and numerous other health problems.

Asbestos can often be found in flame retardant materials like insulation or decorative popcorn ceilings. Ductwork also once contained asbestos, as did some of the structural components like panels. Although most people are rather educated now about the dangers of asbestos, you do still find it in older buildings. In the case of popcorn ceilings, which were popular during the 1970s, you may even find homes built as late as 1986 that still have them because builders were allowed to use up their stock after the law banning them was passed.

No matter where the asbestos is located in the home or other building, something must be done to ensure that it doesn’t harm you, your family, or your employees. It is important to have an asbestos abatement or removal contractor come in and evaluate the location because occasionally it does not pose any threats and can simply be left alone. A contractor will evaluate whether the asbestos fibers have any chance of becoming dislodged. If they do, then a solution needs to be found in order to prevent that from happening.

Asbestos abatement is done to prevent harm from asbestos, whether it’s removing it or covering it up. Here is how the general asbestos abatement process works:

  1. Before any work begins, the material in question must be tested for asbestos.  There is no reason to tear a home or business apart if there is no asbestos, so you’ve got to make sure that there really is asbestos that needs to be removed. Even materials that were traditionally made of asbestos don’t always contain this harmful substance, especially if they are much newer than you think they are.
  2. If at all possible, abatement should occur while no one is in the building.  In the case of large commercial buildings, this may not be possible, but it will require that workers in the area where the work will be done must be relocated temporarily.
  3. When the work is ready to be done, the area where the asbestos will be removed from must be sealed off securely so that the asbestos does not spread to the rest of the building. Duct tape and film are usually used to seal off the area, along with machines that give off negative air pressure and have HEPA filters, to ensure complete security, even when the film is lifted momentarily to allow workers in and out. The sealing is done in such a way that clean air is being pulled in but asbestos-filled air is not being allowed out.
  4. The process that is used to actually remove the asbestos varies according to the type that is being removed.  For example, in the case of popcorn ceilings, contractors have to scrape it off in a painstaking manner and then fix the ceiling afterward. In the case of insulation, it is simply pulled out and replaced. Other methods are used for other types of materials that contain asbestos. In some cases, it may be more advisable to seal up the asbestos rather than remove it, depending on where it is located, whether it can be sealed safely, and how much of a danger it poses for the workers who remove it, based on the specific circumstances.
  5. A piece of equipment that is especially designed for cleanup after asbestos abatement or removal is then used to vacuum up all the asbestos debris left behind after the job.

Clear Air Solutions is a reputable asbestos abatement removal contractor.

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