Getting Rid of Asbestos
Asbestos was a widely used building material that found its way into insulation, roofing, pipes and other parts of buildings. It was then discovered that when asbestos products weaken, they produced fibres that when inhaled became a huge health risk. As a result, the use of asbestos has been banned, and its removal becomes necessary.
The health risks connected with the handling of weakened asbestos products to get rid of them has led to safe methods of handling being developed and codified. Any place with asbestos is first inspected and a list is made of all the items in the building that contain asbestos. Asbestos can be friable and will be reduced to powder form even with the pressure of your hand, a condition that is most dangerous, especially if the asbestos-containing product is dry. Other products may have asbestos but have been strengthened with bonding compounds that make them less of a risk.
It is essential that before you start taking measures to get rid of asbestos, you immediately restrict access to the site and install barricades and signs that the area is now out of bounds. It can also help if air samples are taken to help in the detection of asbestos fibres. The asbestos-containing products that have friable asbestos must then be dismantled after being removed from any service they are providing. This asbestos must then be transferred to bags that need to be tightly sealed. Every worker doing this work of dismantling, collecting and disposal must wear respiratory protective equipment. They will also need to wear other protection like gloves safety footwear and overalls. After the asbestos has been removed and sent to properly accredited disposal sites, it can be a good thing to conduct surveys of air samples once again, to ensure that the threat has been taken care of completely.
It is generally recommended that in cases where the asbestos products are in good condition, they are left alone. You can seal or bind the asbestos fibres with sealants or paints or enclose the product with encapsulation. But such abatement can turn out to become risks at a later date when the asbestos deteriorates further.
Asbestos was in earlier times used for its fire resistant properties, and in cases where you remove the product and replace with a safer material, care must be taken to see that the new material has the same fireproofing properties.