Asbestos is a dangerous material that could cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma when inhaled. Homes built in the first half of the 20th century may contain asbestos. The extract below discusses some asbestos management tips.
Handling Asbestos at Home
In Australia, homeowners are allowed to handle less than 10m2 of non-friable asbestos. Below are a few tips to help you manage asbestos at home:
- Wear protective clothing such as goggles, face masks, gloves, an overall and boots to prevent contact with asbestos fibres.
- Damp the working area to avoid inhaling asbestos fibres.
- Handle the asbestos with caution. Do not break the asbestos or use hammers and power tools such as drills when removing the asbestos.
- Put the asbestos in asbestos-approved waste bags.
Handling Asbestos During Construction
If you would want to conduct construction or demolition works in a house that has asbestos, you will need to hire an asbestos abatement company. The company should be licenced to operate in your locality. You should expect the following.
The professional will visit your home to inspect the presence of asbestos. Non-friable asbestos can be found on the roof and floor tiles. Friable asbestos is mainly found on steam pipes, walls, and fireplaces. The professionals will take samples and take them to a lab for testing.
Non-friable asbestos should be removed in a controlled environment. Typically, you will be required to remove furniture and utensils in the room with asbestos. The company will then lock the house and use plastic sheeting to cover walls, windows and doors. It prevents the fibres from leaving the house or lodging themselves on surfaces.
After abatement, the company will clean the area using a wet mop or asbestos-grade vacuum cleaner. PPE and tools used by the professionals will be decontaminated using the asbestos-grade vacuum cleaner.
3. Air Test
Asbestos air testing examines the presence of asbestos fibres in your house after abatement. The professionals use an air pump to determine the concentration of asbestos inside the house. There are two types of asbestos air tests. These are Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). If the air tests positive for asbestos contamination, the contractor will have to decontaminate the area and conduct another test.
4. Asbestos Transportation and Disposal
The contractor will transport the asbestos in a vehicle equipped to transport dangerous materials. In case of an accident, first responders will avoid opening the compartment carrying the asbestos. Asbestos should be disposed of in a landfill that accepts asbestos waste.
Asbestos removal exposes you to a variety of risks. As such, you should always wear protective clothing when handing non-friable asbestos. Avoid these risks by hiring an abatement company to remove the asbestos.