Containment and Encapsulation Re-Visited: Asbestos

August 18, 2008

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Lead paint is not the only hazardous substance subject to abatement laws in the United States. Asbestos, a tough, chemical-resistant mineral once widely used in insulation, flooring and soundproofing materials, is also subject to abatement standards.

Materials made from asbestos are generally safe, unless they become damaged by use or are disturbed during renovation or remodeling. If they are damaged or disturbed, these products may release microscopic asbestos fibers which can become lodged in the lungs, leading to serious lung diseases such as asbestosis. In some cases, exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to a deadly form of lung cancer called mesothelioma.

In order to prevent asbestos materials from becoming a health hazard, specially licensed workers must perform asbestos abatement. The level of training and certification required for asbestos abatement work will usually require your paint and coating contractor to sub-contract with a specialty abatement company.

During a renovation project, the cost of asbestos removal or containment must be factored into the project budget. A removal strategy pulls out the asbestos materials during a repair or renovation, while a containment strategy seals the asbestos material from further exposure.

The removal of asbestos materials is more likely to create harmful asbestos dust, which increases both the health and economic costs associated with the project. Containment is more often recommended because this method costs less and is less likely to create asbestos laden dust during the project.

Coming Up: Asbestos Abatement Step by Step

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