As many of our readers already know there are different levels of exposure risk when dealing with asbestos and the hazards of the removal process. Different provinces have different guidelines and regulations for the exposure levels and the practices involved in the remediation process. Some things remain the same – the do’s and don’ts listed in this blog are some of the things to always keep in mind when dealing with asbestos.
- Do keep activities to a minimum in any areas having damaged material that may contain asbestos and take every precaution to avoid damaging asbestos material.
- Do have removal and major repair done by people qualified in handling asbestos. It is recommended that sampling and minor repair also be done by asbestos professionals.
- Don’t dust, sweep, or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos.
- Don’t saw, sand, scrape, or drill holes in asbestos materials.
- Don’t use abrasive pads or brushes on power strippers to strip wax from asbestos flooring. Never use a power stripper on a dry floor.
- Don’t sand or try to level asbestos flooring or its backing. When asbestos flooring needs replacing, install new floor covering over it, if possible. If removal is an absolute necessity please call your local remediation company to examine the situation before hand so that you don’t end up with particles all over your home or worse in your lungs.
- Don’t track material that could contain asbestos through the house. If you cannot avoid walking through the area, have it cleaned with a wet mop. If the material is from a damaged area, or if a large area must be cleaned, call an asbestos professional.
If the asbestos material is in good shape and will not be disturbed, do nothing!
If it is a problem, there are two types of corrections: repair and removal. Repair usually involves either sealing or covering asbestos material. Sealing (encapsulation) involves treating the material with a sealant that either binds the asbestos fibers together or coats the material so fibers are not released. Pipe, furnace and boiler insulation can sometimes be repaired this way. This should be done only by a professional trained to handle asbestos safely. Covering (enclosure) involves placing something over or around the material that contains asbestos to prevent release of fibers. Exposed insulated piping may be covered with a protective wrap or jacket. Removal is usually expensive method and should be the last option in most situations, because removal poses the greatest risk of fiber release. However, removal may be required when remodeling or making major changes to your home that will disturb asbestos material. Removal may be necessary if asbestos material is damaged extensively and cannot be otherwise repaired. Removal is complex and must be done only by a contractor with special training. Improper removal may actually increase the health risks to you and your family. This is why you should call a trusted contractor or remediation specialist. Make sure they are qualified to do the removal and have past experience and are certified to do the work.
If you think asbestos may be in your home, don’t panic. Usually the best thing is to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone. Contact a specialist like got mold? to come in and do an inspection. Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers. Check material regularly if you suspect it may contain asbestos. Don’t touch it, but look for signs of wear or damage such as tears, abrasions, or water damage. Damaged material may release asbestos fibers. This is particularly true if you often disturb it by hitting, rubbing, or handling it, or if it is exposed to extreme vibration or air flow. Sometimes the best way to deal with slightly damaged material is to limit access to the area and not touch or disturb it. Discard damaged or worn asbestos gloves, stove-top pads, or ironing board covers, before disposal check with local health, environmental, or other appropriate officials to find out proper handling and disposal procedures. If asbestos material is more than slightly damaged, or if you are going to make changes in your home that might disturb it, repair or removal by a professional is needed. Before you have your house remodeled, find out whether asbestos materials are present.
Most products made today do not contain asbestos. Those few products made which still contain asbestos that could be inhaled are required to be labeled as such. However, until the 1970’s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos. Common products that might have contained asbestos in the past, and conditions which may release fibers, include:
- Pipe wrap, coatings or blankets on hot water and steam pipes in older houses.Roofing and siding shingles made of asbestos cement.
- Insulation in houses built between 1930 and 1950.
- Textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
- Artificial ashes and embers used in gas-fired fireplaces.
- Older products such as stove-top pads.
- Walls and floors around wood burning stoves — these may be protected with asbestos paper, mill board, or cement sheets.
- Some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
- Insulation on oil or coal furnaces and door gaskets
For more information for Saskatchewan guidelines and for more information on asbestos abatement please check out more of our blogs on got mold? we are here to educate the public about awareness. If you have any questions call today!
Source for information: Saskatchewan Federation of Labor