What To Do If You Disturb Asbestos

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Don’t Panic – Follow These Steps If You Disturb Asbestos

If you accidentally break or disturb material that you suspect contains asbestos, it’s essential to treat it with caution. Asbestos fibers, when inhaled, can cause severe health problems, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Use a registered asbestos removal company, first and foremost when asbestos has been disturbed.

If you believe you have broken or disturbed asbestos-containing material (ACM), take the following steps:

  1. Stay Calm: Panic can lead to hurried decisions that might exacerbate the situation.
  2. Isolate the Area:
    • Prevent people and pets from entering the contaminated area.
    • Close the door to the room if it’s indoors or mark off the area if it’s outside.
    • Turn off HVAC systems to avoid circulating the fibers throughout the building.
  3. Avoid Creating Dust:
    • Do not sweep, vacuum, or dust the debris.
    • Do not use a regular vacuum cleaner or shop vac; they can release asbestos fibers into the air.
  4. Wet the Area:
    • Gently wet down the broken material with water using a spray bottle to keep the fibers from becoming airborne.
  5. Wear Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
    • If you must handle the material, use disposable gloves, a proper respirator mask (e.g., a P100 mask), and wear old clothing that you can dispose of afterward.
  6. Clean Up Carefully:
    • Place large pieces gently into a double-lined plastic bag.
    • Wipe down the area with wet disposable rags or wipes, then dispose of these in the plastic bags as well.
    • Seal the bags tightly and label them as asbestos-contaminated waste.
  7. Proper Disposal:
    • Asbestos waste should be disposed of at an approved waste disposal site. Contact your local health department or environmental agency to find out where and how to dispose of the waste.
  8. Air Out the Area:
    • Once you’ve cleaned up, if possible, open windows and doors to increase ventilation and help clear out any lingering asbestos fibers.
  9. Seek Professional Help:
    • For extensive damage or if you’re unsure about cleanup, it’s best to contact a licensed asbestos abatement contractor. They have the proper training and equipment to handle and dispose of asbestos safely.
  10. Monitor Your Health: If you believe you were exposed to asbestos, make a note of the exposure and inform your doctor. While it typically takes long-term exposure for asbestos-related diseases to develop, it’s always good to have a record and keep an eye on any potential symptoms.

Stay Safe, Stay Calm – When Asbestos Is Disturbed

Remember, it’s essential to avoid disturbing asbestos whenever possible. If you’re planning any renovations or work that might involve asbestos-containing materials, always have the material tested by a certified asbestos professional and, if necessary, properly removed.



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