DIY Asbestos Removal: Is It For You?

When you hear “asbestos removal”, what’s the first thing that comes into your mind? Is it the health risk associated with exposure to asbestos? Or you might probably think, are you legally allowed to do it? Well, there’s no right or wrong answer because when dealing with asbestos, you really have to consider a lot of things before you decide to do things on your own. If you are in a situation where you feel the need to do an asbestos removal on your own, and you want to know more about it, this article will help you navigate about the legality and safety of it.

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Asbestos As Construction Material

Before the dangers of exposure to asbestos fiber were known, asbestos was popularly used in construction of buildings. Asbestos can be added to asphalt, concrete, vinyl materials in wall sheeting, ceiling panels, corrugated roofing and roof shingles. Materials made with asbestos were common for electrical buildings because they are strong, incombustible, and heat-resistant.

However, when materials made of asbestos are disturbed or damaged, they release dust or fibers into the air which humans can ingest or inhale. 

Disturbing Asbestos

Materials made with asbestos can be disturbed by breaking, snapping, hitting, rubbing or handling, or if it is exposed to extreme vibration or air flow. When these happen, thousands of breathable asbestos fibers are released into the air. It is even more dangerous when asbestos materials are disturbed with power tools like grinders, water blasters, and drills. Remember that Australia made it illegal for anyone, even licensed professionals, to water blast asbestos materials because of the danger this can cause to anyone who would be exposed to asbestos.

Exposure to Asbestos

Dealing with asbestos and operating on a material made with asbestos are no joke because of the health risks associated with improper handling of asbestos that leads to asbestos fiber exposure. Since some of the health risks associated with asbestos exposure are life-threatening, a DIY asbestos removal project seems to be a big risk for any person. 

In case you decide to do a DIY asbestos removal project, there’s no certainty that things will go on smoothly as planned out. Disturbance of asbestos is a possibility. And before you decide to risk your and family’s lives and health, it is important to emphasize that when asbestos releases dust or fibers into the air, these fibers can be ingested or inhaled and they will build up in your lungs. When this happens, your lungs will be aggravated and will result in long-term inflammation and scarring of the lungs.

Health Risks

As previously mentioned, exposure to asbestos fiber can cause life-threatening diseases. Asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma are the three primary diseases related with exposure to asbestos.

When a large amount of asbestos fiber is inhaled, it leads to the scarring of the lungs and causes asbestosis. Asbestosis can lead to cardiac failure if not treated early on.

Lung cancer is another disease associated with asbestos exposure. Although lung cancer can be triggered by many other different causes especially tobacco, exposure to asbestos is surely one of them. When one is regularly exposed to asbestos fiber in a long period of time, the fibers can cause enough genetic and cellular damage to cause lung cells to turn cancerous.

Lastly, asbestos exposure can also lead to mesothelioma, a rare and fatal form of cancer. When one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, his/her life expectancy is cut short to approximately 6 to 12 months after diagnosis. Up until this day, there’s still no known cure for this disease and to make the matter worse, it can only be detected after the cancer has spread.

Handling asbestos can also cause skin warts. When the sharp asbestos fibers lodged in the skin, they would need to be frozen out or cut because our skin tissue is unable to deal with asbestos fiber.

Deciding a DIY Asbestos Removal Project

After knowing all the risks associated with dealing and handling asbestos on your own, and you are still inclined on a DIY asbestos removal project, another equally important thing you should learn is the regulations in place regarding the matter. Because of the dangers posed by asbestos exposure, all Australian states and territories have strong regulation on asbestos removal. A Class B asbestos removal license is usually required for anyone who plans on removing any amount of bonded asbestos materials that are greater than 10 square meters. To remove friable asbestos, one should have a Class A license. One is considered friable if it can be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure.

The required license is a must if you are planning a DIY asbestos removal project. If you do not have any license, you are only allowed to remove asbestos containing material that is bonded and less than 10 square meters. But even if you can legally do it, is it worth the risk knowing that asbestos exposure is a real possibility when handling asbestos containing material?

The Best Thing To Do

Doing an asbestos project removal by yourself seemed like a dangerous and irrational choice given the health risks involved. The best course of action is to choose your and your family’s safety and let the professionals do the job for you. Companies like Greenlight Services offer an asbestos survey and report, they will inspect and check where the areas with asbestos are in your own home or at your workplace. This way, you can be sure that the job can be properly done and your family’s safety is guaranteed.

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