November 30, 2011

Asbestos dust clean

Mesothelioma is a disease characterized by scattered pulmonary fibrosis from the infiltration of asbestos dust into the lungs. Recent laws limit the usage of asbestos, but a lot of industries used it in the past. Hence, exposure occurred, and may still happen, in many jobs, comprising of manufacturing and mining of asbestos, shipbuilding, demolition of structures containing asbestos, and roofing. Further diseases connected to asbestos exposure include lung cancer, asbestosis, and asbestos pleural effusion.

The amount of exposure that leads to disease in people is up for debate. While there are numerous cases of factory or other workers that have had heavy exposure to free, friable exposure for several years developing disease, there are also cases where exposure has been as short as some months or only a few weeks. Intensity of exposure is most probable as relevant as length of time.

Dust of asbestos is a vicious thing. Due to the chemical structure of the material, the dust is like a cloud of fine glass particles. While they will not harm your skin, they do great harm to the lungs. Making matters worse, asbestos dust is so fine that it is simply raised from asbestos material like ceiling tiles and walls. Once in the air, it is all but unseen.

While you're performing a renovation project, below are a number of helpful tips to remove asbestos dust:
  • It's best to make use of hand tools to minimize the release of dust. Power tools are more probable to damage asbestos surfaces. 
  •  If you require to sand, make it wet sand. Dry sanding releases asbestos fibres into the air. 
  •  Moisten the asbestos material before working with it to reduce the danger of dust being released. Do not make use of a high-pressure jet. 
  •  Increasing some dish-washing liquid to the water you use will assist soak up asbestos particles. 
  •  Do not make use of an abrasive blasting system or any other high-pressure techniques to clean asbestos roofing, siding or cladding. Always make use of a low-pressure system. 
  •  Clean the area you have been working in completely. Dispose of any waste cautiously and in reference to your local laws.

November 25, 2011

asbestos testing

We hear about asbestos testing and wonder why it is so important? You will even find some writers and bloggers try to convince you there are no dangers related to asbestos exposure. But no matter how the data is spun or twisted danger exists and asbestos testing is very important any way you look at it.

By zeroing in on the U.S. alone estimates of the death rate caused by mesothelioma is more than ten thousand people every year. Exposure to asbestos causes thousands of people to suffer from many other diseases that are non-fatal.

We hear the word almost every day (mesothelioma) sure cancer and death come to mind but many wonder what it is. The organs are all protected by a membrane called (mesothelium). The thin membrane covers organs such as the heart, lungs and abdomen. The disease mesothelioma attacks the mesothelium.

Asbestos dangers are everywhere but some of the worst offenders occur in everyday working environments. Carpenters, electricians, ship building, plumbers, insulation workers and asbestos abatement teams. Workers from all the different environments leave the work sites with the asbestos fibers on their clothing and indirectly expose their families and others they come in contact with.

One of the major reasons that some believe the dangers are not real is because symptoms of exposure may not appear for 20 to 50 years after exposure. So sometimes the connection is not made between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. Once diagnosed the survival rate is 2 years or less.

In the U.S. some recent studies confirmed more than 28 million pounds of asbestos are still used to make many things. Commonly used in ship manufacturing and construction processes because of its insulating properties. You would not believe the large numbers of people live as close as 2640 feet from sites the mine asbestos and use it in manufacturing processes.

Asbestos testing is of major importance because of the possibility of exposure. The asbestos fibers are invisible so there is no way other than testing to verify the possibility of exposure. There is also no way of knowing if materials used in construction contain asbestos simply by looking at it. It is possible to safely collect asbestos samples but they must be sent to a certified testing facility to verify.

Asbestos samples must be collected and submitted to a facility for asbestos testing. Professional qualified people can safely perform the asbestos sampling. There are do-it-yourself asbestos testing kits that will instruct you how to perform the sampling safely yourself.

Asbestos insulating properties are regarded as the best in the world so for many years it was used for insulating everything you can think of going back 4000 years. Not much was done about the dangers until the late 1970s. The used of the mineral was banned for use in construction and other materials. Asbestos is the name given to six types of naturally occurring fibers. The major problem is the fibers are microscopic and easily become airborne. The danger occurs when inhaled.

The EPA requires the PLM method of asbestos testing which is performed with very powerful microscopes. The PLM method is (polarized light microscopy) analysis. This type of asbestos testing verifies the type and the amount of asbestos contained in the samples submitter for testing.

Asbestos testing laboratories get their accreditation from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. They have set up the accreditation program that labs must comply with to do asbestos testing

The dangers of asbestos

The dangers of asbestos have been known for a very long time and even the companies that made billions off of asbestos products have long since given up defending the virtues of asbestos. Unfortunately, there were way too many years between identifying the dangers of asbestos and getting asbestos pulled off the market but finally new asbestos products have been almost universally banned.

The biggest problem with asbestos today is dealing with the past. People still suffer from mesothelioma and other respiratory problems caused by asbestos. Perhaps an even bigger problem is how to deal with the asbestos that is still out there in older buildings, concrete and insulation. For more than half of the 20th century asbestos was used just about anywhere that required insulation. It was just about everywhere out there - and still is.

Of course the public outcry against asbestos called for the immediate removal of all asbestos anywhere people were exposed to the hazard. However, this is often easier said than done. In all too many cases the biggest expense involved in renovating an older building is dealing with asbestos. Often the expense of totally removing asbestos has prevented renovation of older buildings. Demolishing or renovating old buildings used to be easy but not anymore.

For many years asbestos removal was at a stand still. Those companies that could afford to remove asbestos insulation in their buildings had already done so; often at great expense. Those companies with smaller financial resources usually just left their old buildings alone and delayed dealing with the asbestos. Finally in the 1990s governments started to approve alternate ways of dealing with asbestos in buildings.

Currently there are 3 approved ways of dealing with asbestos in older buildings. Removal is still the preferred way, but is very expensive and not entirely without dangers. Simply getting the asbestos out exposes it to people. The trick and expense in asbestos removal is keeping it out of the air and away from people. An additional problem with asbestos removal is you have to install new insulation and fireproofing, usually fiberglass, to replace the asbestos you are removing.

A second way of dealing with asbestos is called encapsulation. This involves actually building a structure around the asbestos so that it is totally contained. In some cases this is a viable option but usually it is almost as expensive as removal. Many buildings cannot handle the extra weight of the encapsulation structure.

The third way of dealing with asbestos is called encasement. With this procedure a special 2-part coating is sprayed over the asbestos totally preventing exposure to the fibers. The first coat is a primer that binds with the asbestos fibers, holds them in place and also prepares the surface for the second coat. The second coat is the sealer that does just that, totally sealing off the asbestos.

Independent testing of encasement has shown that the final surface is completely safe. There are no airborne fibers or other volatile substances coming off the surface. It is totally harmless. In the field, encasement has proven to be more than 50 percent less expensive compared to removal and can be done in half the time and with much less labor expense. The big drawback with encasement is the asbestos is still there but as long as the building isn't changed or demolished the encasement coating renders the asbestos totally harmless.

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous mineral with very remarkable qualities: it can effectively resist heat, steam, and fire. These qualities make asbestos an ideal material for insulation, which were used to line roofs, ceilings, attics, and walls of both houses and buildings. The type of insulation was widely used in residential, public, and commercial buildings before the 1980's.

Despite its excellent qualities that made it an ideal ingredient for construction materials, asbestos is highly hazardous to both the health of humans and animals. Asbestos consists of several silicate minerals that can be separated into fibers and particles easily. When inhaled and ingested, these particles and fibers can cause a variety of pulmonary diseases, including asbestos poisoning (a scarring of the lung tissues caused by sharp asbestos fibers and will cause chest pains, shortness of breath, and dry coughing), mesothelioma (a cancer unique to asbestos exposure-and an extremely fatal one), and several kinds of cancer that will affect the lungs, stomach, larynx, esophagus, and even the kidneys.

Asbestos insulation is a problem that plagues a lot of homeowners and property owners. Action should be immediately taken, because the risks of the diseases mentioned above will increase when exposure is prolonged. How will you know if your insulation uses asbestos? Here are a few things to watch out for:
  • It is important for you to know the exact date when the house or building you are living in is constructed. If it was built before the 1960's, there is a high chance that the insulation material lining the walls, attic, and roofs. 
  • Check if the insulation used in your house or building is of the loose or batted type. These kinds of insulation material will look life fluffy, grayish clumps of fibers and they are often found between the rafters. 
  • If your home has a lot of old pipes, check if they are covered with a blanket-like material in the elbow joints and valves-these are insulation materials that contain asbestos. There are also asbestos insulation materials that look like cardboard coverings-and this was especially popular in steam heating pipes manufactured in the 1910's to the 1980's.
If you suspect that the insulation materials in your home or building contain asbestos, you should treat them as though they really contain asbestos. This means avoiding contact or exposure to them, and immediately calling a professional asbestos remover to inspect them. Asbestos can only be positively identified by using polarizing light microscopy, which can be found in laboratories certified by the Environmental Protection Agency.

You should not try to remove asbestos insulation by yourself, even if you wear something over your nose to provide protection from inhaling the fibers. Licensed professionals use special masks and gloves to handle the asbestos materials, and they possess the technical knowledge to safely extract these materials from your home. They also use special equipment to isolate and seal off the infected area, and initiate decontamination once the job is done.