What is Asbestos?

Some of you may be surprised by the fact that Asbestos is a natural mineral from the earth. It has been mined for thousands of years and has been found to have caused illness to even the ancient romans.  Why is this precious mineral so sought after by manufacturers? Well, Asbestos has been widely used in over thousands of products and building materials in the United States. It is known for its fibrous bending abilities, heat resistance, thermal insulating, roofing mastics and woven into clothing for fire protection.  An easy way to describe asbestos is basically a rock that is durable yet fibrous. Common colors of asbestos rock are blue, green, brown and white. It wasn’t until the late 1920’s that the harmful effects when mining or mishandling asbestos became more recognized in the medical field.  When Asbestos fibers go airborne they are microscopic and easy to inhale. Since we took our first breath we have been inhaling countless microscopic spores, fibers and dust. The human body has trouble breaking down this sharp microscopic rock in your lungs that we call asbestos. It was either Zionism, bad politicians or capitalistic greed which delayed regulation for so many years despite thousands of fatalities to those who work with this material often.  Asbestos is still used today in several countries including the USA for building materials and a wide variety of consumer products. Asbestos Abatement in a nutshell begins with proper containment of the area, wetting, and discarding while utilizing personal protection equipment.

Classifications of asbestos contractor work

OSHA classifies asbestos abatement and removal work into one of four categories. Each classification has a specific set of requirements and work practices. The system is based on two factors:
1) What kind of asbestos product are we working with, and,
2) What is the amount of asbestos we may disturb.

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Learn more about Health Effects of Asbestos Exposure

Learn more about proper Asbestos Disposal

The four classes are defined as follows:

Class I asbestos work is when you remove high risk Asbestos-Containing Materials. High risk ACM is friable asbestos material. It gets into the air very easily a High risk Asbestos-Containing Material is thermal system insulation and sprayed or troweled on surfacing material. Class I work is "full scale asbestos abatement." It is the most hazardous.

Class II asbestos work is when you remove Asbestos-Containing Material that is not high-risk. Some examples of Class II materials include wallboard, floor tile and sheeting, ceiling tile, roofing and siding shingles, and construction mastics. These materials are less friable, or less likely to become friable when removed. There are fewer requirements when working with them. They are less dangerous because less asbestos gets into the air.

Class III asbestos work is repair and maintenance operations where Asbestos-Containing Material is likely to be disturbed. These operations should involve no more than a single glove bag worth of Asbestos-Containing Materials. These are very small jobs.

Class IV asbestos work is maintenance and custodial activities in which you come into contact with Asbestos-Containing Materials. Clean up of waste and debris containing Asbestos-Containing Materials and is also considered a Class IV operation.

Exposure Assessment
SoCal Removal will identify the hazards on the project. SoCal Removal must find out how much asbestos gets into the air while performing abatement. This is called an exposure assessment. An exposure assessment finds out how much asbestos you will be exposed to while you work.

Negative Exposure Assessment (NEA)
A negative exposure assessment is when the abatement contractor can prove that the asbestos in the air will remain below the PEL (permissible exposure level) and EL (excursion limit). A negative exposure assessment states that you are expected to be exposed to asbestos below the PEL and EL. If the asbestos job has a NEA (Negative Exposure Assessment), then the requirements, procedures, and guidelines for the work may change.

ASBESTOS ABATEMENT KEY FACTS

SoCal Removal dependable setup practices make asbestos work safer and easier

PROTECTION

Use good work methods - keep the asbestos wet, contain the work area, use negative air pressure, filter the air with HEPA filters, and practice good housekeeping.
Use respirators that fit right and disposable suits.
We perform negative and positive pressure user seal checks before you go in the work room. We never take our respirator off inside the work room.

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ASBESTOS REMOVAL

Wet the asbestos and keep it wet.
No use of metal scrapers, brushes, or shovels.
No use of vacuum cleaners or power tools unless they are equipped with HEPA vacuums. Care should always be taken never to drop or throw asbestos.
The key to preventing asbestos fibers from going airborne is to keep asbestos out of the air by wetting the air and the substance being removed.

ASBESTOS WASTE DISPOSAL

Keep asbestos out of the air by bagging it as soon as possible.
Waste debris bags with proper identification warning labels. Pull all the air out of the bag and seal it air tight. (Gooseneck the bag.)

ASBESTOS DECONTAMINATION CHAMBER

Enter and leave through the decon.
We must decontaminate ourselves (throw out the suit, take a shower with your respirator on, and throw out your respirator filters) every time you leave the work room.

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ASBESTOS CLASS II REMOVAL (roofing or any friable material)

Remove the material intact whenever possible.
Wet the material before removal whenever possible.

KEEP THE ASBESTOS WET

The first step in taking off the asbestos is getting it wet. SoCal Removal does not use WATER as a source to wet.  Asbestos wetting agent must be used at all times.  We wet the asbestos before removing it, while, and after. We use a low-pressure sprayer or a garden sprayer. The amended water (wetting agent) will soak into the asbestos better than plain water. The asbestos may turn a darker color or swell a bit. Sometimes asbestos is in a paper cover.  We use techniques such as create a small hole in the paper and spray water inside it.

At least one worker should wet thewetting-1 asbestos as the work goes on. 
 
He or she should make sure that the asbestos on the ceilings, pipes, etc. is really wet. The worker should mist the air as the work goes on. Drops of water will catch the asbestos in the air and pull it down to the floor.  Our trained and certified technicians always wet the asbestos on the floor until it is put in bags.

The work area should be damp, not flooded.  
We always avoid overwatering.  If we use too much water, it will make puddles on the floor. The water could leak through the poly or make someone slip. Keep in mind that plain water will not soak into amosite asbestos. SoCal Removal will Never use water on live electrical lines. You could get a bad shock. Never use water on a hot steam line. The water could boil and burn the abatement technician. At least one sprayer on each shift should wear an air sampling pump.