Hiring an asbestos abatement contractor is the safest way to contain asbestos fibers when renovating structures built prior to 1980. However, the Occupational and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations don’t apply to dwellings with under four residences. This means that homeowners considering remodeling – or clean up after a disaster – have the responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors by following known guidelines.
Protection of a home containing asbestos
When it’s time to remodel, if you have a home built before 1980, you probably have asbestos in tiles, drywall joint compound, mastic, insulation, shingles, popcorn ceilings, or another of the many uses for asbestos in construction. It is impossible to recognize visually, so a prudent homeowner will contract with a professional abatement company. They can test and let you know if it’s safe to proceed or if abatement is necessary. Why is this important? There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. When undisturbed it poses no harm, but if it has deteriorated, or it experiences drilling, sawing, sanding, breaking – fibers are released and can be inhaled. Once in the lungs, it can cause serious diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, or the fatal disease – mesothelioma.
Contractors may be unaware or just not care
Contractors often don’t take the dangers of asbestos seriously. They proceed to demolition without testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), or precautions. As they proceed, dust is created that may contain asbestos. This fiber-laden dust doesn’t affect only the person doing the job, but the entire building, anyone in it, the surrounding properties, as well as the clothing and vehicles of the workers. As a famous asbestos scientist once stated “asbestos dust doesn’t recognize trade classifications” – meaning that once the fiber is liberated it poses a hazard to anyone that comes in contact with it. For improperly demolished residences, that risk can extend to the families of construction workers, and in many cases, the neighbors of the demolished property.
Hiring an asbestos abatement contractor
While hiring an abatement company to test before that happens may seem an unnecessary expense, it can save lives and is relatively inexpensive. If asbestos is found, the abatement contractor knows the best methods to either repair damage to an asbestos product or remove it completely.