Asbestos Removal Methods

Updated July 19, 2017

Asbestos removal is a dangerous undertaking. Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause serious medical conditions, including lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. When removing asbestos, it is essential to follow the proper asbestos removal protocol to minimise the risk of exposure to the toxic fibres.

Initial Steps

The first step in asbestos removal is ensuring that removal is appropriate. Have the area tested for asbestos, and determine whether asbestos removal is the appropriate course of action since the fibres are toxic, but the asbestos itself is not inherently dangerous. Then, determine whether you want to remove the asbestos yourself, since the recommended course of action is to hire a professional. If you decide to remove asbestos, the second step is to assemble a team. Your team must consist of either asbestos abatement professionals or volunteers, since it is illegal to hire someone who is not an asbestos abatement professional. No one on the asbestos removal team can have facial hair, as facial hair makes it impossible to prevent inhalation of asbestos fibres. The third step is to file the appropriate permits with the government (many states have specific requirements for asbestos removal procedures), and sign documents certifying that you will take appropriate safety measures. The fourth step is to assemble the asbestos removal products: safety clothing and goggles, a pry bar and knife, a water sprayer, asbestos disposal bags and a breathing apparatus.

The Day of the Removal

On the day of the removal, you and your team should dress in the appropriate clothing and goggles. Put on the breathing apparatus before beginning asbestos removal. The removal process itself involves spraying the asbestos thoroughly with water. Once the asbestos is saturated, use the pry bar and knife to remove the asbestos. As it is removed, pack it into the asbestos removal bags. The bags are double seal bags--the bag should be sealed as asbestos is packed in and then sealed again. It is essential to keep the asbestos wet throughout the process. Once all the asbestos is removed, clean up any remaining asbestos fibres by wetting the fibres and placing the trace amounts of asbestos in the asbestos removal bags. Vacuuming and sweeping is not appropriate and can be dangerous.

After the removal

Remove the protective clothing and dispose of it in the same asbestos removal bags. Double seal the bags, including the clothing. Wash yourself thoroughly. Remove the breathing apparatus only after the clothing has been disposed of, the bags have been double sealed and you have washed. You must then dispose of the bags containing the asbestos at a local landfill designed to manage asbestos disposal. You should call ahead so they are expecting the delivery and ensure they have room for it. After the process is complete, you should have the initial area tested again to ensure that no asbestos lingers.

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