What is asbestos and how is it removed?

You may have heard about asbestos, you may even be aware of its dangers, but are you aware that if your house was built between 1930 and 1999, it is almost guaranteed to contain asbestos? In this article we will be explaining what asbestos is, the dangers involved and when it’s important to get asbestos removed from your home.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the term for a group of minerals, previously used in the construction of buildings. Asbestos provided many benefits for the construction industry, and from the 1930s onwards, was popularly used for insulation, flooring and roofing in a huge number of homes. During the 1970s, a link between asbestos and severe respiratory diseases became alarmingly evident. Eventually, it was discovered that the microscopic fibres being released as a result of damaged or disintegrating asbestos products were causing serious harm to the body when inhaled. The main problem, now termed as ‘Asbestosis’, is where the asbestos fibres infiltrate and damage healthy lung tissue, leading to a buildup of fibrous scar tissue. Scar tissue, unlike healthy tissue, is inflexible, and thus the build up of this fibrous material can lead to severe breathing difficulties.

Many people are aware that asbestos can cause health problems, but little are aware that many houses built between the years 1930s and 1999 will likely contain the material. Fear not, however – asbestos is only dangerous once it is damaged, and thus if the asbestos in your home is in good condition, and there is no reason to believe it should be damaged in the near future, you are not in any immediate danger.

However, it is always good to have your asbestos checked out. An asbestos inspector will take a look at the asbestos around your home and advise whether or not they believe it needs to be removed.

How is asbestos removed?

The process of removing asbestos is relatively quick, depending on the size of the space involved. It is important, however, that you do not attempt to remove the asbestos yourself. The removal process will likely damage the asbestos and release a great amount of hazardous material into the air. It is important you hire a professional team that are experienced in removing and disposing of asbestos safely.

Vacating the premises

The process of removing asbestos can lead to a temporary increase of hazardous fibres. As a result, it is highly recommended that all occupants vacate the premises and live elsewhere until the property is safe to move back into. The asbestos abatement team will be wearing disposable hazmat suits, respirators and gloves as vital precautions to ensure their own safety. Precautions will also be taken to ensure that the hazardous material does not travel elsewhere; the house, or room, will be sealed, and HEPA filters will be used to create negative air pressure, stopping the air from flowing outside.

Asbestos removal is undertaken by ensuring the asbestos is contained when handled. A team of professionals will remove the floorboards or walls and use tape or glue to keep the sides sealed. The hazardous material will then be loaded into a vehicle and hauled away where it will be disposed of in a special asbestos disposal bin. When all large portions are removed, the area will be diligently vacuumed. The asbestos abatement team will remove and dispose of their contaminated clothing, before showering and changing into their regular clothes.

Finally, the area will be air tested to ensure that the air is safe again. Once this is confirmed, the occupants may move back in to their safer, asbestos-free home.

At Enfield Skips, we work alongside a fully licensed asbestos removal company to provide efficient disposal of any hazardous asbestos material. Working on both commercial and domestic properties, our skips at Enfield Skips are used to facilitate the storage of hazardous material. Our expert team will then transport the material to our own transfer station, in which we comply with the highest levels of safety and professionalism to treat the waste accordingly. To hear more, or to enquire about any of our wide range of services, give our friendly team a call today.