When hazardous materials are encountered, there is really only one way to deal with them: call a professional. If handled improperly, hazardous waste disposal can pose a grave threat to your health, even resulting in death. A prime example of hazardous material is asbestos.
Asbestos is known to cause mesothelioma and cancers of the lung, larynx, and ovary. It may also be linked to an increased risk of cancers of the pharynx, stomach, and colorectum and may increase the risk of asbestosis, a condition that causes shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage.
Handling and Disposal of Asbestos
Asbestos was once widely used in numerous products because it is strong, long-lasting, and fire-resistant. It was commonly used in the construction industry to insulate against cold and noise, and for fireproofing. If you own a home built before the early 1990s, you may have asbestos in your home.
Asbestos may be discovered if you plan to do renovations or repairs. If you do find that it is present in your home, contact an asbestos abatement company immediately. They are trained and certified in hazardous waste disposal. Attempting to deal with it yourself not only puts you in danger, but you are also likely to break one or more of the many laws regulating asbestos. For example, some of the proper guidelines include:
• Planning the Removal. Professional abatement companies will know how to adequately plan for the work to be done.
• Preparing the Area. The work area must be properly sealed off and negative air pressure units employed to prevent contamination. Surfaces must be protected and warning signs put in place.
• Personal Protection. Handling asbestos requires personal precautions to be taken in the form of wearing an N-100 or P-100 respirator, in addition to protective clothing.
• Work Area Protocols. To prevent the circulation of asbestos fibers, HVAC units must be disabled. To control dust, workers will use a HEPA vacuum or wet wipes to clean objects. Once the abatement is complete, a HEPA vacuum will be used to thoroughly clean up.
• Handling and Disposing of Asbestos Waste. Before removal efforts, abatement professionals will wet asbestos-containing materials. The asbestos waste will be double-bagged in 6mm plastic bags and then enclosed in a plastic leak-tight container that is appropriately labeled.
• Decontamination Units. Units will be installed to allow workers to safely remove contaminated tools, shoes, and clothing while following specific protocols that prevent contamination and the spread of asbestos fibers.
Can Asbestos Be Recycled?
Methods do exist for recycling asbestos products and transforming them into non-toxic materials, but these techniques are relatively new and the process is both complex and expensive. Generally speaking, asbestos will be removed, transported, and then disposed of at a landfill.
Hazardous waste disposal requires knowledge, skill, and special equipment, making it something that you should not attempt on your own. Trust the professionals to get the job done safely and correctly.
For more information on asbestos and hazardous waste disposal, contact Progressive Environmental today.