We all must have seen asbestos at least once in our lifetimes, but we cannot identify them because they often come mixed with other substances. In the past, Asbestos was used in building material because of its strength and resistance to fire. Asbestos is known to be a health hazard if someone is exposed to it for longer period of time
If you wish to identify asbestos’ presence, an ideal way to do so is by sending it for an asbestos check in the asbestos library.
Some Health Hazards That Revolve Around Asbestos
Many health hazards are associated with an individual’s prolonged exposure to asbestos. Breathing in significant quantities of asbestos can lead to the risk of lung cancers. As long as asbestos is correctly enclosed in a product, there aren’t any possible health risks. However, when asbestos fibres are released in the air and inhaled by human beings, they can pose a considerable threat.
Possible Sources of Asbestos within a Household
There might be traces of asbestos in your house, for which you need to conduct an asbestos check.
- Asbestos might be present in the cement of your roofing, the roofing felt, siding and the shingles. When the materials begin to erode, the fibers of the asbestos may be released into the air.
- Sometimes, houses have vinyl asbestos, floors fitted with rubber tiles and asphalt. Scraping, breaking, or sanding of these tiles can release the asbestos fibers into the air and vent to health issues.
- Sometimes, the furnace ducts of houses, hot water pipes, water tanks and boilers are encapsulated with a blanket of asbestos. Removal of these blankets or any wear and tear leads to releasing these asbestos fibers into the air.
- Textured paints also contain asbestos. Sometimes, when these paints are scrapped or drilled to be repaired or made afresh, the process causes asbestos fibers to be released into the air. These fibers, when inhaled, prove to be harmful to human health.
- Did you know that soundproofing materials that are sprayed on ceilings and walls also contain these fibers? When these materials crumble or loosen over time, the fibers are released into the air.
Even so, an older and outdated model of a hairdryer can be just as harmful as any other object in your house that emits asbestos fiber. Sounds unbelievable, right? It is essential to identify these unknown dangers in your house through an asbestos check and beware of the threats that tag along. For testing, you will have to scrape out a part of the area. However, there are some safety measures that you need to abide by. Read on to find out.
Wet cleaning is one important practice that should be undertaken at the start of the work. This involves wet cleaning or wiping for picking up the asbestos fibres using wet mops, rags or cloths. These should be discarded properly while these are still wet to prevent the collected fibres from being released in the air when dry and disturbed. Dusting or dry sweeping is not recommended because it will result in resuspending the asbestos fibres in the air.
Using special vacuum cleaners can be used in specific conditions in place of wet cleaning. These vacuum cleaners are called High Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA vacuums. These cleaners come with special filters designed to remove the small particles or fibres of asbestos. This prevents these particles from floating in the air while passing through the vacuum. Ordinary vacuum cleaners are not recommended because the exhaust air from it is not filtered properly and therefore it can be released back into the air.
Some Guidelines for Safe Collection of Asbestos Sample
Stated below are some of the guidelines that will help cut down the harmful effects that might be caused while collecting asbestos samples.
- Always use disposable gloves, protective clothes, and an approved respirator while scraping the sample off.
- Make sure not to leave on any cooling or heating systems to curb the spread of the released fibers.
- Enclose the area, seal it off as much as you can so that the released fibers do not spread to other parts of the house.
- Do not allow children or pets into the area from where you are collecting samples for the asbestos check.
- Contain the sample in a small, dry, and clean zip-lock bag.
Important precautions to take
In order to reduce the risks in asbestos removal there are a few important precautions to take before, during and after the process.
Before you start to work make sure that you:
- Clear the area
- Cover everything that cannot be removed
- Cover walls and floors
- Isolate the area
- Post signs of warning.
During the process make sure that you:
- proper protective clothing
- Wear a respirator
- disposable coverall
- rubber gloves
- Good rubber boots and
- protective eye goggles.
Make sure that you wear all these throughout the working process. Also make sure that no other person is allowed into the contaminated area. To reduce creation of dust and spreading you should wet the material with water, when possible. Be careful that you do not break the sheets or components. Try to remove it whole, if possible. Always keep an adequate supply of waste bags handy that are approved for asbestos removal.
After the process you should:
- Remove all protective clothing and gear inside the air lock to prevent asbestos fibres from spreading.
- While removing, place the removed materials in in the disposal bags.
- Clean the surface with wet cloth or vacuum cleaner.
- Roll the covers carefully and wipe the tools clean.
- Shower thoroughly and was your hands and face.
Good practices to follow
As for the safe and good practices to follow during and after asbestos removal include:
- Not eating, drinking, chewing or smoking in the work area.
- Wet wiping the drop sheets and barriers used during the work or cleaning with a HEPA-filtered vacuum.
- Not reusing the drop cloths, barriers and enclosures.
- Not using compressed air to remove dust.
- Cleaning the area frequently during the work and immediately after completion.
According to the law of certain jurisdictions, the workers for asbestos removal should be provided with a double locker facility with showers in between them. Asbestos contaminated clothes must be removed in one locker and the second to store the street clothes.
Spreading of asbestos dust is critically important. It is only the good practices that will ensure that contamination is controlled and people are saved from any asbestos related health issues.
Hope this gives you an insight into the different aspects of the asbestos check. Also, all the facts will help to consider all the pros and cons of asbestos checking.