Asbestos, a once popular material for the home building industry, has been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma and other respiratory diseases. Many structures with asbestos roofing and insulation still exist, some of them without the knowledge of the persons living in or near those structures. Removing asbestos is a job that is often dictated by law and should only be performed by trained and registered asbestos removal specialists. These steps will familiarise you with the proper disposal procedures.
Find out what the law says about removing, handling and disposing of asbestos in your city, county and state, because many states and municipalities have laws forbidding or otherwise dictating asbestos handling by non-licensed individuals. First, call or e-mail your city hall to ask about any pertinent ordinances. If you live in an unincorporated area, contact the county seat or county police department with these questions. Then check the official website of your state's government to find contact information for your state's Department of Environmental Protection. Write or call this department for a full explanation of the state's law.
Ask your state's Department of Environmental Protection for a list of registered asbestos removal specialists. You should also ask where you can send samples of roofing material to be tested, and how those materials need to be shipped.
Retrieve a sample of roofing material to be tested for asbestos. First, put on a dust mask and set up a ladder so that you can safely reach the roof. Then dampen the section of the roof nearest the ladder as a means of preventing asbestos fibres becoming airborne. You can do this from the ground with a garden hose or from atop the ladder with a bucket of water or spray bottle. Finally, use a hammer and chisel to chip away a roughly quarter-sized piece of the roofing tile material from an inconspicuous place. Put this sample in a Ziploc bag and seal it shut.
Mail the sample to the testing centre you learnt about in Step 2, along with any required testing fees or forms. Contact the testing centre directly if you do not have all of the information you need to send in the sample.
Contact one of the registered asbestos removal specialists you learnt about in Step 2, if and when it is confirmed, that you have asbestos roofing. You may call multiple companies on the list as a means of comparison shopping by price or other criteria.
Authorise one of the firms to remove and dispose of the roofing materials safely and in accordance with state law. You should also begin shopping for roofing contractors to put on a replacement roof as soon as the asbestos roof has bee removed.
The risks posed by inhaling airborne asbestos particles are very serious. The only safe way to remove asbestos from any structure is with the use of advanced respiratory protective equipment and special training.