Asbestos is a type of potentially dangerous fibre widely used in home and office insulation during the 19th and 20th century. Since its identification as a carcinogen and health risk, asbestos use has dropped dramatically. Removing asbestos sheets should not be attempted by anyone without proper training, breathing equipment and skin protection. Asbestos releases fine airborne spores when damaged which can cause a range of cancers or asbestosis related illnesses.
- Skill level:
Go to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency's asbestos website (see Resources) and follow its advice for hiring a professional contractor to asses and possibly remove dangerous asbestos. The site provides advice on equipment the contractor must own, establishing a contract with asbestos workers and information on asbestos regulations particular to each state.
Do not disturb any asbestos in the home. In some cases asbestos is better left where it is than to risk damaging it in removal. Never attempt to vacuum or remove loose or frayed sections of asbestos sheeting. Use a local phone book to research professional asbestos workers based on the U.S. E.P.A. recommendations.
Use a U.S.-based internet search engine to find "Asbestos Abatement Services." Asbestos abatement can involve safe removal and sampling of asbestos sheeting to judge its health risk as well as the complete removal of asbestos should it be found dangerous.
Tips and warnings
- If you suspect asbestos may be present in your home never attempt to cut, tear or destroy it. Always contact a professional before going near asbestos in any form.
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