The word "asbestos" can be frightening to many homeowners and business owners as the material is very dangerous when inhaled. If you're a homeowner or own a commercial property and are concerned about asbestos collection and disposal, note a few questions you might have and then discuss these with an asbestos removal contractor if you still need more information.
1. If asbestos wasn't used for insulation, why be concerned about its collection?
Asbestos may be found in much more than just insulating materials in a residential home or other building. Asbestos has been used in adhesives that are made for floor tiles and backing, patching and joint compounds, roof shingles, siding, millboard or paper that is used to insulate appliances, and as insulating blankets for steam pipes, boilers, and furnace ducts. This isn't to say that all of these materials will automatically contain asbestos, but a homeowner or someone who owns a commercial building should be aware of how common the material might be when it comes to collecting and disposing of it.
2. Can you tell if something is asbestos just by looking at it?
The only completely reliable way to note if something is asbestos or contains asbestos is to have it tested in a lab. However, contractors who are accustomed to working around materials that typically contain asbestos can often make a reasonable guess as to whether or not those materials are asbestos fibers or contain asbestos fibers. If a contractor has told you that something in your home or commercial building most likely contains asbestos, you can have the substance tested, but their judgment may also be very reliable because of their experience in working with such materials.
3. Can asbestos be collected and disposed of without a contractor?
It's good to remember that, even if you are allowed in your area to handle asbestos on your own and you do collect and bag and contain anything that might contain asbestos, you still need to dispose of it at a properly licensed facility. This is because trash that is collected curbside can easily become airborne as it's tossed in trucks or dumped into a landfill. The asbestos can then be released and be a danger to those who collect it or to virtually anyone, depending on when and how the asbestos becomes airborne. You can also face steep fines from your city or state if you don't dispose of asbestos properly; depending on your area, this might include using certain types of waste bags and collection methods. Rather than risk this, it's always good to call a contractor (such as Total Asbestos Services) for proper and safe asbestos disposal.