Asbestos Removal

Asbestos Removal: A Safety Guide to Healthier Lungs

Asbestos removal is the process of taking out materials or products that contain asbestos from an environment. This could mean taking down aging roofing materials or proper disposal of anything that contains high concentration of asbestos, while taking into consideration the handling and the safety measures to in removing the material.

Asbestos is a heat-withstanding cluster of strong fibrous minerals. It can also resist chemicals and wear. Those were the reasons why it was widely used in building construction materials until the mid-80s. Its use was later banned because they found out that people who are exposed to high asbestos concentration levels in the air were found to be getting lung illnesses. This is why asbestos removal has taken quite a stir among the renovators’ communities and people who are in the construction business these past years.

While total asbestos removal is not entirely possible because asbestos can be found anywhere, it is also important to note that asbestos exposure could not cause immediate serious damage to people. Asbestos can be found at low levels in the air or drinking water anywhere but they can not be immediately hazardous to the health unless a person is exposed to it for a lengthy period of time or the material is disturbed frequently.

What makes asbestos a potential hazard to one’s health?

Asbestos fibers are so fine that when they are inhaled, they could lodge in the lungs. Frequent exposure to it will cause build up and which may lead to shortness of breath, asbestosis, mesothelioma or lung cancer. As asbestos materials get older, they release fibers and these can be breathed in.

Production of building materials that contain asbestos were banned in 1978 but its use continued well up to 1986. This would imply that older buildings have a higher possibility of being built with materials that contain asbestos, thus have higher risks compared to newly-built ones.

Even if it was earlier banned, those that manufactured the products still sold them to use up all the supplies that were produced before the ban was implemented. Some countries that do not know or are tolerant on the use of asbestos products could be recipients of exports of these products. Manufacturing and usage of asbestos products was totally banned on December 2003 but that does not mean that people from then on are free from asbestos products exposure.

Aside from construction materials, where else can asbestos be found?

Asbestos can also be found in household materials that are usually heat-resistant like ironing boards, oven gloves, or parts of the stove. They could also be found in areas of the home where materials like flat or corrugated fibro sheeting are used. The pipes could also contain that, and also roofing shingles and guttering. Asbestos can also be added on cotton, cement and many other things because of its capacity to make materials durable.

It is most likely found in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry areas. In electrical supplies and transportation, asbestos has been widely utilized and it is either encased in or mixed with other materials.   It has been an important component of clutch facings and brake lining, and no other substitute could be at par with it at present, which is why asbestos is still indispensable. It was also used in various public building, mainly on materials for walls and ceilings as insulation—to keep off fire and noise. This implies that asbestos products can be found in offices, schools, vehicles, etc.

Specific areas where you may find asbestos are: gutters and pipes, bath panels, insulation panels, wall linings, doors and ceilings linings, floor tiles, fire blankets, roofs and many other materials that are most likely heat or chemical-resistant.

What should one know before undertaking asbestos removal?

It is a better option to consult first with an experienced contractor to survey the building before doing any form of asbestos removal. Have a look on the internet or in the yellow pages for the nearest firm that offers asbestos removal services. If it cannot be found in the yellow pages, it is suggested that the local government unit be approached and be asked about their approved ways of doing asbestos removal or if there are such measures that they are doing about it. Some states declared asbestos removal illegal if it is not done by a State-certified asbestos abatement contractor.

Asbestos removal should only be done if it was found out that the materials are releasing fiber. If there is minimal or no release at all, it is best to leave it alone because disturbing it could lead to releasing more loose fibers in the air—this could make it worse. It is not advisable to drill or use circular saws on asbestos materials for that reason. If it is left alone, the thing to be considered would then be the amount of time that a person would be exposed to it. If there is longer exposure, the material is best removed and replaced with an asbestos-free substitute.

Although some people attempt asbestos removal themselves, using an asbestos removal company clearly makes much more sense.  These companies are used to frequently removing asbestos and if you consider some of the health risks, the potential real cost of attempting removal yourself is simply too high.


Asbestos removal may lengthen one’s stay on earth but it also means getting informed first before doing anything about the asbestos materials found within the vicinity. In the end, it is still best to consult with people who know about asbestos removal before you proceed with anything.  What is does go to show, is that there are frequently discoveries of new ‘wonder materials’, which only over time show the problems associated with their use.