Asbestos in the Home: How to Identify, Test and Remove It

May 13, 2022

Asbestos cement materials were initially created in Australia in the 1920s and were widely employed in the production of residential construction materials from the mid-1940s to the late 1980s.

As a result, many residences built prior to 1990 include asbestos cement components, notably in the eaves, internal and exterior wall cladding, ceilings, especially in moist areas such as bathrooms and laundries, and even fences. Identifying asbestos is not as simple as it may appear since it does not have a distinct odour and cannot be determined just by looking at it.

How to identify asbestos?

Only a careful, thorough study of a sample utilising specialised microscopic methods can identify whether a substance contains asbestos. It is preferable to get this done in an approved laboratory.

If the questionable material was installed before 1990, it is fair to infer it contains asbestos. If you want to be sure, have it tested.

How to detect asbestos in your home?

1. Examine for cracks, abrasions, and water damage

If you believe that a section of your house has asbestos, inspect it on a regular basis for rips, abrasions, or water damage. If you find slightly damaged material, restrict access to the area and avoid touching or disturbing it. Professional repair or removal is required if the asbestos material is more than mildly damaged, or if you plan to make alterations in your house that may disturb it.

2. Schedule an inspection

However, before contacting an asbestos abatement service, or browsing for “how to check for asbestos”, you should have an industrial hygiene expert check the affected area. A professional evaluation will include a thorough visual inspection as well as rigorous sample collection and analysis.

If asbestos is discovered, the inspector shall submit a written report explaining the location and degree of the damage, as well as recommendations for remedy or prevention.

This inspector can also undertake post-removal or repair checks to ensure the area has been adequately cleaned. With this report in hand, homeowners may call an asbestos abatement professional and work out a cleanup plan.

3. Contact an Asbestos Removal Contractor

Get a formal contract that specifies the work plan, cleanup and the applicable federal, state and local rules that the contractor must follow, such as permits, notification requirements and asbestos disposal processes, before work begins.

To learn more about these requirements, contact your state and local health agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency's regional office, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's regional office.

How to get Abseteos removal in Sydney?

If you want to have the asbestos removed, receive written confirmation from the contractor that he or she followed all local asbestos removal and disposal requirements.

6 Tips for a Risk-Free Asbestos Removal Procedure

  1. Before paying the final payment, homeowners should get a disposal manifest to ensure that the waste will be disposed of in an asbestos-accepting landfill.
  2. Only contractors who have been licenced by the state to execute asbestos abatement services should repair and remove asbestos. Ask for references and a list of similar work that the contractor has recently performed, just as you would with any other contractor.
  3. Check with your local air pollution control board and the local worker safety agency to check whether the company has had any safety breaches.
  4. Insist on the use of appropriate equipment by the contractor, as well as the use of certified respirators, gloves, and other protective apparel by employees.
  5. Homeowners should also make sure that the contractor has general liability and workman's compensation insurance that covers this sort of work. Contractors are obliged by law in several states to inform federal, state, and municipal agencies that they are preparing to execute abatement activities.
  6. Before the contractor removes its containment system at the completion of the operation, the industrial hygiene professional who first inspected the property should return to take air samples to ensure that no asbestos fibres have accidentally escaped.

Repair After Asbestos Removal

Repairing asbestos includes either sealing or covering the substance.

3 Repair Tips

  • Repair is normally less expensive than removal but it may make eventual asbestos removal more difficult and costly, if necessary.
  • Repairs might be substantial or modest in nature.
  • Minor repairs should not be attempted on your own; poor handling of asbestos materials causes more issues than it solves.

1. Sealing

Sealing (encapsulation) is the application of a sealer to the substance, which either binds the asbestos fibres together or covers the material to prevent fibre release. Insulation for pipes, furnaces and boilers may be repaired in this manner.

2. Covering

Covering (inclosure) entails wrapping a protective wrap or jacket around the asbestos-containing material to prevent fibre discharge. These repairs should only be performed by a professional who has been trained to work safely with asbestos. The asbestos stays in situ during any form of repair.

Is asbestos harmful to your health?

Yes. We now know that long-term asbestos fibre exposure can cause lung illness. When disturbed, microscopic abrasive asbestos fibres are easily breathed, causing lung tissue damage and perhaps cancer. Asbestos is most typically found in homes constructed before 1975 as thermal insulation on basement broilers and pipes. If you suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos and got diagnosed with mesothelioma (cancer caused by asbestos exposure), you can seek the help of an attorney who specializes in mesothelioma cases.

When Is Asbestos Dangerous in the Home?

In general, material in excellent condition will not release asbestos fibres and disrupting it may provide a health risk where none previously existed. If asbestos material is in good condition, the best thing to do is leave it alone.

The threat is posed by asbestos material that has deteriorated over time. Asbestos that crumbles readily when handled or has been sawed, scraped or sanded into a powder is more likely to release asbestos fibres and pose a health risk.

How to Locate a Recognized Testing Laboratory

The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) can give information about an approved laboratory in your region that can reliably identify asbestos.

Testing has a low cost, which varies between facilities.

Bring in an expert

Households are strongly encouraged to use skilled and licenced specialists to do home renovations in areas where asbestos is likely to be present, as well as asbestos removal if necessary.

Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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