Finding asbestos can be bad news for a property owner. Long-term exposure to asbestos fibers raises the risk of developing diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestos-is and diffuse pleural thickening. While the majority of asbestos-related deaths occur in industrial workers who had significant contact with the material, it is natural for homeowners to worry about the health implications. So what action should they take?
Must Asbestos Be Removed?
It is not always necessary to remove building materials which have been found to contain asbestos. If the materials are in good condition and are in a position where they are unlikely to suffer damage, then it is sometimes safer to leave them where they are. However, if you are planning renovations or will be doing home improvements which may disturb the asbestos you must notify the contractors so that they can take the necessary precautions.
If the materials containing asbestos have been slightly damaged then it is essential that you take action. Depending on the location of the asbestos, it is not always advisable to remove the materials entirely – for example, if it would weaken the structure of the home, or if it would entail extensive building work. Instead, it is usually recommended that the materials are either enclosed or resealed to stop the possible inhalation of asbestos fibers.
Can You Remove Asbestos Yourself?
It is always recommended that you hire a professional company to handle the asbestos removal for you. This is essential if the materials containing asbestos are already damaged or are likely to incur damage during the removal process. It is also crucial to hire a professional if the asbestos has been found in the form of a sprayed coating, insulation board or lagging.
Hiring An Asbestos Removal Company
Since asbestos is a hazardous waste, contractors must be properly licensed. It is considered a high-risk profession and workers who deal with asbestos removal require specific training and must adhere to strict work practices. If you are unsure what licenses they should hold, contact the relevant authority in your area to see what the state requirements are.
If a qualified building inspector has found asbestos, it may not be necessary to remove the materials. However, if you do need to take action it is highly advisable to use a professional service.