Asbestos in the Home, Do's and Don'ts for Homeowners

Background
Things to Do When Asbestos is in The Home
Things Not to Do When Asbestos is in The Home

Background

Asbestos is commonly used as an acoustic insulator, and in thermal insulation, fire proofing and other building materials. Asbestos is made up of microscopic bundles of fibres that may become airborne when asbestos containing materials are damaged or disturbed. When these fibers get into the air they may be inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause significant health problems. This article looks at what home owners should and shouldn't do when asbestos may be present.

Things to Do When Asbestos is in The Home

  • Do keep activities to a minimum in any areas having damaged material that may contain asbestos.
  • Do take every precaution to avoid damaging asbestos material.
  • Do have removal and major repair done by people trained and qualified in handling asbestos. It is highly recommended that sampling and minor repair also be done by asbestos professionals.

Things Not to Do When Asbestos is in The Home

  • Don't dust, sweep, or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos.
  • Don't saw, sand, scrape, or drill holes in asbestos materials.
  • Don't use abrasive pads or brushes on power strippers to strip wax from asbestos flooring. Never use a power stripper on a dry floor.
  • Don't sand or try to level asbestos flooring or its backing. When asbestos flooring needs replacing, install new floor covering over it, if possible.
  • Don't track material that could contain asbestos through the house. If you cannot avoid walking through the area, have it cleaned with a wet mop. If the material is from a damaged area, or if a large area must be cleaned, call an asbestos professional.

Major repairs must be done only by a professional trained in methods for safely handling asbestos.

Minor repairs should also be done by professionals since there is always a risk of exposure to fibers when asbestos is disturbed.

Doing minor repairs yourself is not recommended since improper handling of asbestos materials can create a hazard where none existed.

Source: US EPA and AZoCleantech

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