When asbestos containing materials in a building are exposed and friable (flaking or crumbling), asbestos removal may be necessary. However, asbestos removal is dangerous, and should only be done by a certified, trained professional. This can be expensive, as professional asbestos removal typically costs between 15 and 25 dollars per square foot.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral useful for its durable, flexible, and virtually indestructible qualities. Between the 1930s and 1970s, asbestos was widely used as insulation in buildings. Asbestos was also used in an estimated 3,000 products, including:
- building materials
- household products
- textiles and clothing
When asbestos containing materials are cut, damaged, or disturbed, asbestos fibers are released into the air. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they remain lodged in the lungs and may cause severe and fatal diseases, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
Non-Friable Asbestos Removal
Most asbestos is classified as non-friable asbestos, which means that, when it is dry, it cannot be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure. Unless significantly disturbed, Non-friable asbestos will not release its toxic fibers into the air. Therefore, asbestos removal is typically unnecessary. Asbestos removal may be necessary, however, if asbestos containing materials are crumbling or producing dust. Additionally, asbestos removal may be necessary before renovating or demolishing a building that contains asbestos.
Asbestos Removal Requirements
Asbestos removal must be performed by a certified asbestos removal contractor. The asbestos removal contractor must follow certain steps to ensure safe asbestos removal, including:
- covering and sealing the work area
- wearing protective clothing and respiratory equipment
- wetting the asbestos material
- placing removed asbestos material into two heavy duty plastic bags or into specially designed boxes
- sealing and labeling the bags or boxes and disposing of them in specified areas
- cleaning and testing the work area for exposed asbestos fibers
Mandatory Asbestos Removal
To regulate asbestos removal, the EPA established the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). NESHAP requires building owners to remove asbestos containing materials from their buildings before demolishing them. In addition, NESHAP requires asbestos removal in schools that contain damaged asbestos containing materials.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition, contact us today to determine if you have a case and are entitled to compensation.