If you have discovered a substance that you suspect to be asbestos in your home or office, then you’re likely aware that there are testing companies that will confirm the identity of the substance that you found. You may not be aware that there is an abatement process that must occur if you have asbestos fibers in your home or office safely removed.
What you may not realize is how many steps go into the abatement process. There are significant dangers associated with a company not thoroughly following the appropriate steps to abate asbestos. You may be at risk for developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related conditions if this occurs.
What steps should companies follow in abating asbestos?
Local, state and federal regulations typically require contractors who are abating asbestos to perform the following steps:
- Marking and restricting access to the hazardous zone: Abatement companies should be able to isolate the removal zone and mark it off so no one travels into it until the removal of all asbestos fibers is verified through testing. Abatement companies should also have building owners disable the HVAC system and seal any air ducts. Abatement companies must seal off the work area with plastic sheets and use a filtration and air pressure differential system.
- Material removal: Abatement contractors can use any wet methods or hand tools to remove asbestos fibers. Contractors should wear respirators and protective clothing as they do this. Any asbestos fibers must be put in sealed bags and removed through a decontamination unit, generally located next to the work area. Workers must also shower before leaving the work area.
- Vacuuming: The abatement team must bring in specialized HEPA (medical grade) filters to minimize the chances of workers or occupants coming in contact with asbestos fibers during the cleaning stage.
- Final cleaning and post-cleanup: The abatement team should perform a clearance air sampling in alignment with state and federal regulations to ensure that the area is safe. They can then move forward with the post-cleanup process, which involves compiling and submitting any necessary proof of abatement.
Did you experience the onset of an asbestos-related condition after abatement?
Abatement procedures are always evolving. Many of the redundancies within the steps in the process have emerged from years of trial and error. If the initial presence of asbestos or failure to eradicate it all during cleanup resulted in your exposure, then you may be entitled to compensation for your illness under Louisiana or federal law.