If you’re searching for the phrase “asbestos removal“, “asbestos definition“, “where is asbestos found” or “asbestos dangers“, this post should help! Here we define what asbestos is, what to do about it, how it’s removed and more.
Furthermore, if the intent of your search was to find asbestos removal services in Phoenix, Native Environmental LLC can help! We provide asbestos removal for commercial and industrial properties located in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Learn more about our asbestos removal services here.
What Is Asbestos? Asbestos Definition
Asbestos is actually a mineral fiber and it can be identified with a special type of microscope. Click here to learn how to identify asbestos. There are different types of asbestos fibers. A long time ago, asbestos was added to a lot of products to provide strength, insulation and fire resistance. Using asbestos in building materials made sense before it was discovered that it caused health issues. It was fire and heat resistant and the glue that has asbestos in it works great. You can’t glue like there was back then to hold vinyl flooring down. Luckily, asbestos was banned in the US.
In the early 1900s, asbestos was suspected to be hazardous. In 1924, a person in the UK was diagnosed with Asbestosis, (progressive fibrosis of the lungs). In 1931, Mesothelioma (rare form of cancer) was used in medical writings. The dangers and risks of asbestos were just swept under the rug and hidden until 1970. In 1989, asbestos in building materials were phased out and it was banned in 2003. That is 80 years of danger since it was discovered. That means that during that time asbestos was used in millions of residences and buildings and over 100,000 people have died or become ill due to exposure to asbestos.
Where Is Asbestos Found?
Asbestos can be found in the following places, including:
- Vinyl floor adhesives
- Old stove top pads
- Textured paint and wall patching
- Insulation for homes built between 1930-1950
- Siding and roofing materials
- Coal and oil furnaces door gasket insulation
- Asbestos tape or blanket on hot water and steam pipes in older homes
- Vinyl floor tiles and backings on vinyl sheet flooring
- Floors and walls around wood burning stoves can has asbestos millwork, concrete pads or fiber
- Artificial ashes and embers in gas fireplaces
- Wall and attic insulation as vermiculite ore
- Some roofing and siding shingles made from asbestos cement
Basically, your home may have asbestos products even if it was built in or before 2003. I was told by the abatement team that even though there is a ban on asbestos, there will still be products that have asbestos in them. It is for this reason, that you should never believe your home is asbestos free. It is safer to have a professional test it if you are unsure. Then discover that you were exposed before it was too late.
What to do if you suspect (and even if you don’t suspect) that you have an asbestos product in your home:
Firstly, don’t freak out. Simply contact an abatement company for asbestos and ask them to test your item. A 1-inch sample will be taken and they will perform a polarized light microscopy (PLM) test by looking for asbestos fibers by using a microscope. If you find that you have asbestos, you will need to determine the risk of it being released into the air. If you have asbestos flooring in good condition that isn’t damaged, flaking or will be tampered with, you can just lay new flooring over the old flooring. If you have vinyl flooring and someone just added new flooring on top, but you have to state that there is asbestos in your home before you can sell. But, it is considered safe to stay in a place that has asbestos products as long they don’t create airborne fibers.
In our case, the mold removal team had to remove the water soaked floor which would cause damage to the asbestos floor and it could expose and loosen fibers that may be inhaled and cause health issues.
How Asbestos is Removed?
The asbestos removal process started with:
- The abatement team showing up and sealing all the rooms completely. Ducts, windows, and even doorways were sealed with plastic. There were asbestos signs everywhere to keep people out.
- Then 2 giant HEPA filters were installed and sucked the air out of the room. This causes negative air pressure which prevents air from escaping into the other parts of the house. The asbestos abatement team wore disposable suits and that includes disposable underwear as well as gloves and respirators.
- Our floor boards were cut into small sections and then the edges of the sections were taped to keep the asbestos under the vinyl of the backing and glue.
- The sheets are then loaded into a truck and then everything is cleaned and vacuumed in the room and placed in special plastic bags. Anything that is contaminated such as clothing are then hauled to the location of the company and placed into special dumpsters for asbestos items.
- After the team was done, they have to strip down and shower in a portable shower on the job site.
Only after the shower are they allow to put on regular clothes. Learn more about asbestos removal here.
Can i stay in my house during asbestos removal?
We were told that our family can stay in the house during the asbestos removal, but I was not going to chance having my children inside that house. We decided to move out of the house, which was complicated by the fact that the mold was giving everyone headaches.
Asbestos Dangers & Diseases
The only way asbestos can be dangerous is if you inhale the asbestos fibers. Your body cannot breakdown or detroy these small asbestos fibers. Furthermore if the fibers remain the they body they can cause the following diseases, including:
- Lung Cancer
- Pleural effusion
- Pleural thickening
- Pleural plaques
- Testes Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Laryngeal Cancer
This is a form of cancer that usually occurs in the thin linings of the abdomen, chest or lungs. People who perform work with and install asbestos insulation have the most increased risk of Mesothelioma.
The largest number of asbestos deaths happen from lung cancer. The incident rate of lung cancer of workers in the manufacturing, milling or mining of asbestos or products that contain it, is usually significantly higher.
Asbestosis is a respiratory disease that is non-cancerous. Lungs become cared from inhaling asbestos fibers. Symptoms usually include dry cracking sounds or shortness of breath in the lungs. People who demolish or renovate old buildings may have a greater risk.
Pleural Plaques are Benign growths that normally do not produce symptoms. They produce patches of thickening of the lining of the diaphragms and chest wall in pleural membranes that surround the lungs.
Air Testing for Asbestos
After the team is done they will complete an air test before anyone is allowed to enter the room without protective gear. A Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) or Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) air sample is analyzed. For our house they used the TEM which was more accurate. The technician was trained and had his own protective gear. He used a leaf blower to stir up fibers and dust in the room that may have settled into crevices and the floor. He then used a vacuum that sucked the air into a filter for about an hour.
An acceptable air test will have less than 0.01 fibers per cc. Finally, our home was given the all clear and we could move back in.
Industrial Asbestos Removal In Phoenix, Arizona
If you need asbestos removal in Phoenix, Native Environmental LLC can help! We provide commercial and industrial asbestos removal for commercial and industrial properties located in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and more. We also provide mold removal.