Asbestos removal companies come into a home or business and remove asbestos from floors, ceilings, and around pipes. They are typically brought in during a construction or remodeling project on a building that was constructed prior to 1979. Nearly all buildings constructed prior to 1979 contain some asbestos.
Asbestos removal companies will wear protective gear to avoid breathing asbestos particles while they work. They will also arrange with the local landfill to dispose of the asbestos containing materials, which are hazardous. Finally, they will wet down the asbestos containing material as they are removing it, or perform the work in an airlock so that the fibers cannot escape. This prevents the asbestos from creating health risks for others in the community.
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Asbestos was, at one time, included in a large percentage of building materials. It was a component of insulation, flooring, ceiling tiles, and water pipes. There were several reasons why asbestos was so widely used. It is a readily available, naturally occurring mineral, making it very cost effective. It is also fireproof, and does not conduct electricity, which makes it an obvious candidate for use in insulation.
Unfortunately, asbestos exposure is very risky. The unique fact about asbestos is that the fibers can continue to break down into smaller and smaller pieces until they are microscopic. If you were to look at these pieces under a microscope, you would see that they look like tiny spears.
People working around asbestos may inhale or ingest the microscopic fibers unknowingly. The spear-like shape of the asbestos allows them to lodge in the body's organs, often the lungs. Once there, they do not break down, but remain in the body causing irritation. Asbestos exposure can eventually lead to mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the protective coverings of the lungs, heart, or abdominal cavity. It can also cause asbestosis, a chronic and untreatable lung disease.
The main danger of asbestos is when it becomes airborne. Asbestos is often left in place unless it is damaged, or the building is being remodeled. Once the asbestos begins to develop chips or tears, such as with damaged floor tiles, it is removed. If construction is done in a building that contains asbestos, the asbestos containing material must be removed by a specially trained company.
Asbestos removal companies will have permission from the state to remove asbestos containing products. Ask where they plan to dispose of the asbestos, and if that is included in their fee. Asbestos cannot be placed out for regular trash pickup. Also, ask how the asbestos removal company will prevent asbestos fibers from escaping into the air. Hiring asbestos removal companies to complete asbestos removal is important for the health of a building's occupants, and for the community at large.