If you live in an old residence and if the property has a high chance of asbestos contamination, you should follow the tips below to ensure a safe asbestos removal at your place.
Anyone who suspects asbestos in his house does not have to worry – even if the suspicion is confirmed. Today, there are good practices to solve the problems. In addition, the greatest risk of developing asbestosis and lung cancer is seen by workers who have been exposed to a high level of occupational exposure without sufficient protection (for example because they were often in the middle of a cloud when dealing with asbestos). The risk occurring in the domestic area is relatively low.
The greatest danger. If asbestos is sawed, felted, drilled, torn out and damaged, carcinogenic fibre fine dust will break out. Improper work to the asbestos-containing material is harmful to health and is therefore prohibited. The most dangerous part of ACM is the dust, which is so tiny that it is not seen with the naked eye. If inhaled, the small pointed fibres penetrate deeply into the lungs and can remain there for life.
It is important to get an early identification of the pollutants. Two indications can facilitate the search: the period of production and the intended use. For example, asbestos has often been used for heat and fire protection.
In case of doubt, you should have suspicious material inspected. It is also necessary to determine how urgent the remediation is. You can get a professional assessor to have him inspect your house. You can, if necessary, inquire at your local council for the list of licensed assessor nearest to your area. Often, consumer advice centres also help.
It is often useful for professionals to take the samples themselves. This provides the opportunity for them to be able to take a closer look at the situation and to make more targeted decisions. However, such analyses, including entry and exit, are relatively expensive. The alternative: For many testing institutes, you can submit material samples (e.g. floor coverings) for analysis. That’s cheaper. In this case, however, be careful when taking samples. It is best to use a fragment already present in the contaminated area and put it in a sealed container (e.g. in a tightly closed freezer bag). If necessary, cut off the sample with a cutter knife (first spray the surface with rinsing water). A fingernail-sized piece is sufficient.
Before you can make measurements, you should request offers from several asbestos removal companies. The price differences can be substantial. Before contracting, clarify the details – in particular, detailed information on the costs of arrival and departure, on-site sampling, laboratory services and advice. Ask about the measuring methods used and the respective detection limits. It may also be interesting to know whether the company routinely carries out such measurements even in its own laboratory or relays the samples for examination. Further selection criteria can be the presence of quality assurance systems (with accreditation if applicable) and many years of experience in the relevant subject area.
An important requirement should also be that the results of the measurements are explained in detail in the end so that even people can start something (including advice). Be cautious, however, the contractor can also have wider economic interests (if it offers remediation work besides the measurements).
Allow bonded asbestos to be removed or sealed off as soon as possible. You should also not wait too long to clean up and dispose of products where weathering or wear marks are visible.
In principle, you should leave the dismantling of asbestos to the professionals, who will be able to provide you with the necessary evidence.
In rented apartments, the landlord has to make sure that no asbestos fibres (e.g. asbestos cardboard behind radiators) can contaminate the room air.
- Health and safety procedures.
If asbestos is removed, various protective provisions apply to workers. No matter whether you hire a company or do small, less problematic work yourself, these regulations have to be taken seriously.
After the remediation of asbestos-containing material, the area must be check for any remaining of the deadly fibre presence. The process includes an air monitoring to ensure that the air is not contaminated and it’s safe to breathe. Any small particles of the fibres can be cleaned with a good vacuum cleaner with Hepa filter. Due to the difficulty of maintaining a secure working environment, a professional asbestos removalist is highly advisable.
If you notice that asbestos-containing materials are improperly removed or treated (for example, destroyed or cleansed with high-pressure cleaners), only one thing will help you: call the authority.
Educate yourself with more information about asbestos and how to deal with it securely. The information that you have acquired is merely for knowledge purpose only. It’s not wise to work on asbestos remediation by yourself. Call the pro and leave the remediation project in their hands.