To find the most reliable information about the safe removal of asbestos dust, you should first consult the EPA website on the matter. At epa.gov you will find many valuable resources pertaining to asbestos, namely, how to locate it, its dangers and what to do after you find it. Also listed are the laws regulating asbestos in public and commercial buildings. As a homeowner, you are not bound by the regulation. However, because asbestos containing materials or ACM are still found in a majority of homes, identification, handling and removal procedures and recommendations do apply to your situation. If you locate asbestos dust in your home, it requires action. In all cases, the EPA recommends professional removal due to the extreme health hazard asbestos fibers pose. That said, you still ought to be knowledgeable of what the process entails.
Asbestos is only a health risk when its microscopic fibers become airborne. Asbestos at risk of this is said to be friable, that is, crumbly or dusty. Old batt insulation, wall texturing, spray-on acoustical coatings and old adhesives are particularly prone to friability. Asbestos dust is especially dangerous as it is in a state whereby it may be inhaled. At this point it is imperative that you hire a professional to deal with the problem. Even if you have an idea of the process, incorrect removal can be potentially dangerous for your health and others in the household.
Safe Asbestos Dust Removal
When you hire a professional asbestos removal service, make sure they are properly licensed and bonded and certified at the federal level. The EPA has strict guidelines regarding the removal, so you should never hire a firm that cuts corners. The proper removal starts with an evaluation of the space to determine how much ACM is present and where it is. Next, you should receive a contract from the firm detailing the cleanup work they will undertake. This should specify the laws and applicable regulations they will follow.
As for the actual removal, full body safety gear and clothing is a requirement for all asbestos workers. This includes disposable suits, gloves and high-rated respirators. For large jobs, some contractors provide on-site showers to in effect decontaminate before leaving the quarantine zone. The area in which the removal takes place must be sealed off from the rest of the home. To do this, plastic sheeting and duct tape is used. Central heating or air conditioning systems must be off during the work. All ACM must be kept moist during cleanup. This reduces the amount of asbestos fibers that go airborne as well as makes the cleanup easier. When removing large pieces of asbestos containing drywall, pipe or other large objects, it is best to keep them intact. Breaking them into smaller pieces increases the spread of dust.
Everything disposable used in the work site is required to be placed in sealed, labeled plastic bags for disposal. This includes work clothing, ACM and equipment used to clean up and contain the ACM. Wet rags and mops are used after removal to wipe down all surfaces. A HEPA vacuum cleaner may be used but never a regular vacuum cleaner.
Knowing these regulations for yourself helps ensure you pick a qualified asbestos removal contractor whom you can trust to do the job right. If you see any unsafe behavior, you can point it out, referring to the contract you have with the firm. After removal and cleanup, it is advisable that you hire an unaffiliated air inspector to test for asbestos particles to make sure the job was done well.