Asbestos attic insulation is common in older homes as asbestos was inexpensive and an effective insulation. The unfortunate side effects of exposure to asbestos include things as benign as a skin irritation to conditions as severe as lung cancer. Asbestos attic insulation may be one of the worst possible kinds to have in a home these days.
As the asbestos ages, the fibers can deteriorate, sending them through the ventilation system since asbestos insulation in an attic is rarely covered. Removing asbestos insulation is very important to do for your safety and the safety of your loved ones. The information below will share with you several things to keep in mind when doing this job.
Note: It is best to get a professional to remove any asbestos insulation in your home, so proceed at your own risk if you choose to remove it yourself.
Wet the Asbestos
When you begin to remove asbestos attic insulation you will run the risk of flooding the area with asbestos fibers. These pesky fibers have a nasty habit of attaching themselves to your skin, clothing, and hair. You can also breathe them in.
Removing asbestos is always problematic and sometimes very costly, but you can prevent the asbestos fibers from spreading throughout the home by keeping it wet from the get-go. You only need to use normal water to soak the insulation so that the fibers cling to each other instead of dislodging and floating through the air.
Cover the Attic
Due to the harshness of asbestos it is very important that it does not get out of the attic to infiltrate the rest of the home. The best way to do this, other than wetting the asbestos, is covering the attic in plastic. Plastic sheeting is very inexpensive but will prevent the asbestos fibers from contaminating the air. Place the plastic on the floor to cover it and make sure you tape it down. Place the plastic sheeting over the walls by taping them down as well. Also use tape over all of the seams.
Use a Respirator
Considering that asbestos fibers are very fine you need to protect your lungs. Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers and inhaling them can lead to lung cancer, so using a respirator is one of the single most important safety steps you can take. However, the respirator is just one piece of the puzzle as you also need the proper filter. Normal filters will not properly screen asbestos fibers so you need to use a filter that is made specifically for asbestos.
The respirator is the most important safety device you can use when removing asbestos attic insulation but you need to protect your skin and eyes as well. Always wear protective goggles that are snug on your face and rubber gloves as well as full body, disposable overalls approved for use in handling asbestos.
Wait a Day
Even after you remove the asbestos attic insulation, there is still more cleaning to do. After the insulation is gone, wait at least a day. The fibers that did kick up will then settle on the plastic, and it can be wetted down with water and disposed of.
Disposal of Asbestos
Disposal procedures actually vary by area, so be sure to check with your local health or environmental officials to learn where you can get rid of it.