Getting ready to do a renovation, remodel or demolition and excited to tackle it on your own?
You may want to pause a moment to consider – is it possible the building you are about to tinker with has asbestos? You may not be sure, or you may know for a fact that it does. In either case, you need to learn a lot about proper handling and removal of asbestos before you go knocking any walls down or cutting through dry wall.
Here are a few very important things you need to know about asbestos before you consider handling materials potentially containing it.
1. Asbestos Is Everywhere
Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous mineral that has been used in building materials for centuries due to its durability and resistance to fire, heat, chemicals and so on.
It is ubiquitous in older buildings, being used to make dry wall, cement, insulation for walls and pipes, roof and floor tiles, paint… Just about every type of building and construction material you can imagine.
2. Asbestos Is Dangerous
We now know that asbestos is extremely dangerous to human health.
When the microscopic asbestos fibres contained in building and other materials are disturbed (such as when they are smashed or cut into) and become airborne, people in the vicinity breathe them into their lungs, where the fibres lodge and stay for decades, slowly causing inflammation, scarring and cancer.
Mesothelioma is an incurable, fatal cancer the only known cause of which is asbestos, and those exposed to asbestos, even minimally, have a shockingly high increase of risk for lung cancer and disease.
3. Asbestos Removal Is Highly Regulated by Law
When removing materials containing asbestos, you cannot simply toss them into a rubbish bin and have done with it. Even if you have hired a special skip bin, you must properly separate, wrap, and label asbestos in preparation for removal.
You will also be responsible for notifying others of the asbestos, including anyone you have hired for bin removal as well as the facility you deliver it to. It must then be taken to a site properly licensed to accept asbestos under Part V of the 1986 Environmental Protection Act.
4. Failure to Remove Asbestos Properly Will Result in Fines
Those who fail to follow government regulations when handling and removing asbestos will be held responsible and charged fines for failure to comply. Fines can be as high as $1000 and higher.
5. Asbestos-Laden Materials Must be Properly Separated, Wrapped, Labelled and Removed
When removing materials that contain asbestos, you will have to:
- Separate the asbestos materials from other materials.
- Use a separate bin; even once the asbestos materials are wrapped and labelled, they cannot go in the same waste bin with non-asbestos materials.
- To prevent the asbestos from escaping into the air, you must wrap it in piles of black builders plastic or asbestos bags no more than five sheets thick.
- The wrap must then be taped using either gaffer or electrical tape It must wrap around the parcel, ensuring no opening for the material or dust to escape. Make sure there is no chance of the parcel unwrapping or coming undone.
- The parcel must then be labelled with “Caution Asbestos” in words at least 50 mm tall.
- Inform anyone transporting the materials of the asbestos and ensure it is taken to a proper facility who is notified of the asbestos.
You can find bags specifically for asbestos-laden materials if you don’t want to just buy generic builder’s plastic.
Not So Sure About a DIY?
Not so sure you want to tackle asbestos removal by yourself? At Melville Bin Hire, we can help by recommending qualified companies to both test for or even remove asbestos for you. If you do decide to do it yourself, we sell asbestos bags for smaller materials and can also provide a bin for the job.
Just be sure to let us know as soon as possible that you will be removing materials containing asbestos, and we can help ensure the proper bin and deliver it to only facilities qualified for asbestos.
If you’re not sure about finding and removing the materials from your home or place of business yourself, never be afraid to call in the experts in asbestos removal to ensure the health and safety of all.