The presence of asbestos in homes is highly alarming. There have been plenty of measures taken on a government level, with a ban on products containing asbestos in Australia in December 2003. This is because its presence in the environment irritates and scars the lung’s tissue and causes severe diseases and rare cancer, Mesothelioma. It usually occurs in the linings of the lungs or the abdomen. Its symptoms include chest pains, cough, high fever, and fatigue. Unfortunately, Australia has the highest incidence rate of this disease, with an average of 2 persons getting diagnosed every day, despite all the efforts taken.
The presence of asbestos in your home requires immediate attention. However, the removal process of asbestos is not at all simple. It requires extensive planning, using the right equipment to protect oneself, decontamination, and disposal. We’ve listed down some ways you can make this process easier for yourself and your family.
Hiring an Asbestos abatement company
Asbestos is usually harmless when left alone. But if the fibers become airborne, they can enter the respiratory system. These fibers embed themselves and cause diseases that can be fatal. Experts recommend hiring asbestos removal companies to handle asbestos and prevent these health risks. These companies have the specialized tools and materials to remove asbestos. They also have years of experience in drawing, handling, and disposing of asbestos, leaving your house decontaminated.
DIY Asbestos Removal
We strongly believe that health always comes first, but if you want to handle the asbestos removal yourself, there are certain things you need to ensure first. People are intrigued to take on this job and the DIY asbestos removal process. If you are one of them, we’d recommend you go through all the steps explained below to ensure a thorough process and prevention of health risks.
It is vital to make other arrangements for your family and pets before starting this project. For example, move them away from the worksite until the process finishes. You must also inform your neighbors and see ways to minimize their exposure.
Prepare the area
- If you are removing asbestos from outside, you must cover the entire area with plastic sheets (note: not recycled). Make sure that you remove all the lawn equipment like furniture, children’s play, and tools from the premises. Close all doors and windows so that no dust and fiber can enter your home. You can also close all ducts to make sure the insides of your home are protected. Asking your neighbors to do the same can help them protect their houses.
- If you are working inside, you must seal off the work site from the rest of the house. Put plastic sheets and cover the ducts, windows, and doors so that the dust does not escape the work area. You should also remove all furniture, decorative items, and children’s play equipment from the space. It is also advisable to cover the floor so that it does not get contaminated.
- Purchase a suitable Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) with a dust mask or a well-secured respirator. You must also wear gloves, a hat, and safety goggles to protect your eyes.
- Avoid power tools as they can cause asbestos fibers to be released. Do not drill or cut the products. Similarly, do not scrub or water blast asbestos.
- Avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in the work area as you may inhale the fiber or dust that can cause health problems.
- Carefully place the products down and avoid dropping them. Any damage to the product can cause breakage and release of the fiber.
- Remove the sheets immediately, and do not leave anything behind.
- Wrap all the sheets in plastic sheets or bags and tape them tightly. Stack the sheets carefully and gently. Avoid throwing or dropping them to avoid the release of fibers.
- You should remove all the protective gear you had on before leaving the work area. Then, you can clean your boots. It is also imperative to carefully dispose of all the plastic sheets you used to cover the area.
- Use vacuum cleaners that comply with AS/NZ 60035.2.60. These cleaners have the appropriate attachments that reduce the release of fibers, asbestos, and dust in the air. Do not use the typical household vacuum cleaners.
- Always dampen the dust before vacuuming. Use a mist spray.
- Dampen all asbestos waste and double wrap it. You must clearly label it as “Asbestos Waste.”
- Use a covered and leak-proof vehicle to transport all the waste safely.
- Contact relevant authorities in your state or territory that legally take up asbestos waste. Many landfill sites take this waste. It is essential to know that it is illegal to re-use or recycle asbestos products. You must also never dump asbestos waste in landfills that do not take such trash. You must also not put asbestos waste in domestic rubbish bins.
The entire process is extremely tricky and requires the proper care, precautions, and precision. Handle these products with extreme care as it is common for people to damage them while removing or packing. If, at any stage, you feel you are unable to proceed with the process, you should ask for professional help right away.
Products that contain asbestos are widespread in houses. After extensive research on the harmful effects of asbestos, governments have moved to ban these products. Unfortunately, this action was only taken recently, in the last two to three decades. As a result, many housing units still have these products, harming the people exposed. The good news is that people are more aware of the repercussions of asbestos and are taking action to remove them safely.