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On Safely Removing Asbestos

If your home was built before 1980, there is a huge change that any part of it contains asbestos, which was a very common substance added to building materials back in the 1950s to 1980s. Due to its fire-resistant and insulating properties, asbestos was used in wall and ceiling plasters, floor and ceiling tiles, floorboards, as well as some vinyl floor and wallpaper backings.

Having asbestos as part of your home is not normally a cause for alarm, and as long as materials containing it are not disturbed, there is little need for worry. However, renovations or repairs carried out around the home can disturb asbestos-containing materials, thereby damaging them and releasing microscopic asbestos fibers into the air. Asbestos, then, becomes a health hazard, and there is an immediate need to remove it from your home to avoid exposing yourself and our family to it.

But how can this removal be done safely? Start by asking the following questions:

How can I confirm the presence of asbestos?

It isn’t all that easy to identify materials that contain asbestos, unless these materials are clearly labeled. To confirm the presence of asbestos, suspected materials have to be tested. This testing is normally carried out by a licensed asbestos surveyor, and it is normally not recommended to do the testing yourself, unless you are also certified. If you opt not to have testing done, the best way to go about would be to assume that the material does contain this harmful substance and treat it carefully.

Can I remove asbestos by myself?

It is generally NOT recommended to remove asbestos from your home yourself as this is an extremely hazardous substance. Just a few asbestos fibers inhaled can lead to mesothelioma and other types of asbestos-caused diseases. As a precaution, never drill, saw, or sand materials that contain or that you suspect to contain asbestos, and always follow safety measures when dealing with asbestos-containing materials.

Who should remove asbestos?

Only a professional who has been certified and has had training on the safe removal of asbestos should do the removal, as he or she would have all the credentials needed to properly and safely remove any substances containing asbestos. This professional would have finished a training course on asbestos safety, and having a HAZWOPER certification is a definite plus. When in doubt, always call in the experts.

There are certainly a number of ways that can be employed in the safe removal of asbestos, but without the proper training and certification, do avoid doing these yourself. Exposure to asbestos can be deadly, and is something that you should not subject yourself or your family to.