1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

September 7, 2008

:251 Asbestos and Remodeling

Filed under: :251 Asbestos and Remodeling — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 7:47 am

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:251 EcoTip: When remodeling a home you should always consider the possibility of disturbing asbestos containing building materials. EPA makes a number of recommendations regarding asbestos in homes. One of the most important is that if a material contains asbestos – Don’t disturb it. Asbestos is a problem if it gets into the air and is inhaled – which can lead to lung and other types of cancer.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

EPA’s Asbestos Do’s And Don’ts For The Homeowner
 

  • 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.
  • 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.

Removal is usually the most expensive method and, unless required by state or local regulations, should be the last option considered in most situations. This is because removal poses the greatest risk of fiber release. However, removal may be required when remodeling or making major changes to your home that will disturb asbestos material. Also, removal may be called for if asbestos material is damaged extensively and cannot be otherwise repaired. Removal is complex and must be done only by a contractor with special training. Improper removal may actually increase the health risks to you and your family. 

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