Construction activities pose one of the greatest current risks for asbestos exposure which in turn could lead to asbestos related cancer. Remodeling – which has risen greatly in popularity over the last several years – can easily release asbestos into the air as the old structures are updated.
Dozens of basic remodeling activities can pose asbestos exposure threats. Homeowners and professional renovators can create an exposure hazard with any of the following procedures:
- Replacing shingles
- Scraping off paint
- Sawing through wallboard or fiberboard
- Tearing out pipes
- Re-tiling floors
- Chipping off asbestos caulk or mastic
Because any of these renovation activities can send loose asbestos fibers into the air where they can be inhaled, asbestos inspections should be performed before a building is remodeled.
Information for Homeowners
Almost every home built before the 1980s contains asbestos. Remodeling these buildings can be done safely as long as asbestos has been encapsulated or removed prior to any renovations.
Property owners should contact a licensed abatement company to inspect and remediate their homes before beginning projects. An abatement professional can safely handle the asbestos so that no residents of the home are exposed to the fibers when asbestos-containing materials are sampled.
Homeowners may want to hire two separate asbestos abatement companies to handle the testing and remediation processes to avoid a conflict of interest. Before hiring a company, be sure to ask for asbestos safety training certificates as well as references.
Information for Professional Renovators
Professional renovators must uphold state and national laws when remodeling an asbestos-containing home. In addition to obtaining the necessary permits for the construction, all workers must be personally licensed to perform asbestos abatement.
When renovating asbestos structures, construction workers must remember to wear all appropriate safety gear, including respirators with HEPA air filters. All work clothing should be left at the jobsite, and showers should be taken to wash asbestos debris from the skin and hair before going home.
After completing asbestos renovations, all asbestos waste must be sealed off and disposed of at a qualifying landfill. The home should be thoroughly cleaned by a vacuum with a HEPA filter before residents return to the home.
Author bio: Faith Franz is a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in whole-body health and medical research to educate the mesothelioma community about the newest developments in cancer care.