Protect against asbestos exposure when remodeling

In previous posts we have discussed why you should have an asbestos inspection, what types of building materials may contain asbestos, what an asbestos abatement looks like, and some of the health effects caused by asbestos exposure. In this post we will discuss steps you can take to limit your risk of asbestos exposure when remodeling.

Have an Asbestos Inspection Before Beginning a Remodeling Project

Handling asbestos containing materials improperly can be hazardous to your health and the health of building occupants. Furthermore, you should be aware that an asbestos inspection is required prior to remodeling or demolition. A proper inspection and the accompanying report will identify asbestos containing materials. Unfortunately, as a property owner or contractor, the reality is that you may find yourself in a situation where you are involved in a project but do not have an inspection or report.

To be absolutely clear, if you find yourself in this situation, the best course of action is to immediately stop working until an asbestos inspection has been performed.

Additional Ways to Minimize the Risk of Asbestos Exposure

  • Assume that all building materials being disturbed contain asbestos.
  • Contain the work area using 6-mil plastic, and maintain a negative pressure inside the containment by using negative air machines or fans to exhaust air out of the contained area through an exterior door or window.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including disposable clothing, boots, gloves, safety glasses/goggles, and a respirator with P100 filter cartridges. A dust mask is not considered appropriate PPE!
  • Use a pump up sprayer to wet down building materials prior to and during removal. Asbestos fibers are too small to be seen with the naked eye. If you are disturbing asbestos containing materials and you see dust, then what you can’t see are the asbestos fibers floating in the air. Minimize dust to minimize exposure.
  • Bag all debris in trash bags before it is removed from the contained area.
  • Clean all remaining surfaces inside the contained area by damp wiping, scrubbing/mopping or HEPA vacuuming until no visible film or residue remains.

Be aware that disposing of asbestos waste improperly (unmarked bags, non-asbestos landfill, burning, etc.) is against the law and dangerous.

In any situation such as an emergency, a project that someone else started, or where an uninformed property owner or contractor is involved, the above steps will help to minimize asbestos exposure.

How Branch Environmental Can Help

Don’t risk potential asbestos exposure by unknowingly disturbing asbestos containing materials in your home or building. Since 2000, Branch Environmental has been inspecting, assessing and abating asbestos. We work in homes, multi-family housing, schools, hospitals, government facilities, commercial buildings, and more.

Our team of experienced professionals possesses the knowledge and tools required to handle all of your asbestos related needs. Call us today if you would like to schedule an asbestos inspection, request an abatement estimate, or simply have questions regarding the potential for asbestos in your home or building.