There are over 3,000 manufactured products that are known to contain asbestos. Recent reports estimate that over 30 million homes and commercial buildings, within the United States alone, contain some type of an asbestos-containing product. The only way to truly remove the threat of asbestos exposure and its dangerous health effects is to remove all asbestos from the premises.
Products containing asbestos should only be handled by a licensed asbestos removal contractor. Removing asbestos materials in your own home is strongly discouraged. In most cases, asbestos must be removed entirely; however, in some instances asbestos abatement may be accomplished through encasement or encapsulation. Ultimately, the process depends on the location of asbestos and the amount of asbestos present, among other factors.
Why Test for Asbestos?
Asbestos is highly toxic and was widely used in a large number of building materials including flooring, ceiling tiles, insulation, cements, joint compound and more. It is important, therefore to test for the presence of asbestos before initiating any building repairs or improvements on structures that were built prior to 1980. Not doing so can put you and others in the immediate vicinity at risk for inhaling airborne asbestos fibers during the repair or renovation. Asbestos has causal links to mesothelioma, a type of asbestos cancer.
The Role of an Asbestos Consultant
An asbestos consultant is certified to perform accredited testing for asbestos. They are also equipped to make recommendations for the safe removal or containment of asbestos containing material and can monitor and certify the success of the work of an asbestos removal contractor.
The Role of an Asbestos Removal Contractor
Asbestos removal is typically required before an older building is demolished, prior to any maintenance or renovation that could disturb asbestos containing materials or when asbestos containing materials are damaged. An asbestos removal contractor will determine whether and HSE (Health and Safety Executive) license is required for the job. This type of license is usually necessary when there is a high probability that asbestos fibers will be released into the air during the scheduled work. The removal contractor will assess what is required for removal, perform the removal work and dispose of the hazardous material.
There are stringent requirements set by federal, state, and local authorities regarding the methods for asbestos handling, removal, and disposal. The asbestos removal regulations vary state-by-state so it is important to ensure that the hired removal professional is fully in compliance with all state laws and regulations.
More Helpful Resources
To locate an asbestos removal professional near you, visit:
To learn more about the asbestos regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency, visit:
To familiarize yourself with OSHA asbestos information and guidelines, go to: