Asbestos abatement is required only if a building is being renovated, remodeled, or maintained. Generally speaking, asbestos abatement is done when the ceiling tiles are removed; the plumbing is repaired or any other place which has asbestos.
Why Asbestos abatement
Asbestos is indestructible. Once inhaled it lodges in the lungs and creates problems. It was widely used in years past, but nowadays it is not used and people have started removing it from their buildings. The human body cannot digest or break it further or change it in any way. It remains forever lodged in the lungs and thus causes long term problems and its effects may even show up after 30-40 years. It is for this reason that when old buildings are pulled down or renovated, asbestos abatement is done.
However, if the asbestos is in good condition then nothing is done to disturb it because asbestos in its dormant state doesn’t harm in any way. Only when it starts breaking into small chunks or there is any other problem in the building, say a leakage problem, that it releases small fibers in the environment which is harmful to human beings.
Steps for asbestos abatement
Thus once the asbestos in a particular area has been disturbed emergency asbestos abatement is done. However, there is a procedure to it and if you have been planning to do it yourself you are strongly advised against doing it. Although small houses and single-family units are not covered by the departmental laws, they do need to take previous permissions and follow local laws regarding it.
- As soon as there is an emergency the department of labor is informed. The asbestos abatement area has to be immediately evacuated and isolated. All air rotating systems are shut down to prevent the spreading of asbestos fibers in the air. Efforts are then undertaken so that the area becomes normal as soon as possible.
- Asbestos abatement is always carried out as per the regulations laid down by the state’s department of labor. One of the basic criteria under this law is that the personnel undertaking asbestos abatement should undergo refresher training for asbestos removal every year.
- Asbestos abatement is always done in closed areas so that the asbestos fibers don’t spread. They are kept wet so that the fibers are not released into the air while there is asbestos abatement going on and there is minimum possible pollution in the environment.
- The workers who are involved in asbestos abatement need to wear respirators and for protecting themselves they also need to wear protective coveralls. The coveralls are disposed of as soon as they leave the working area. All these precautions are taken so that the asbestos fiber doesn’t get into the air.
- Once asbestos abatement is over samples of the surrounding air are taken and studied to rule out any asbestos fiber. Only when the authorities ensure that the area is clean, is it open to further use.
Improperly undertaking asbestos abatement is a violation of the law and a serious health hazard.
As a responsible person, you must always get it done by certified contractors even though it may be an expensive procedure, you should not attempt to do it on your own.