Gear Required To Remove Asbestos

Asbestos is not only a deadly toxin, it is an insidious one. Asbestos fibers, shaped like microscopic spears and coiled springs, are far too small to be seen with the unaided eye. Because they weigh next to nothing, they can float about in the air for months, being ingested and inhaled by unsuspecting victims.

You have probably heard that asbestos may be either friable or non-friable. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "friable" means that the asbestos-containing material (ACM) contains at least 1% asbestos and when dry, can be "crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder by hand pressure" (NESHAP, Sec. 61.141).  "Non-friable" means that such material cannot be crumbled.

The EPA website (as well as many others) says that non-friable asbestos is "safe" as long as it is "not disturbed." The truth is, any ACM product will become friable sooner or later as it ages, unless it is encapsulated with special sealers. According to investigative reporter Michael Bowker, author of Deadly Deception: How Asbestos is Killing America, houses are subject to wear and tear as they age, necessitating repair and renovations – any of which may cause such "safe" asbestos to start crumbling, thus releasing fibers into the air. Bowker recommends that such areas of the home be monitored on a regular basis.

Bowker also strongly recommends that homeowners do not attempt to remove asbestos themselves. There are good reasons for this. The first reason is outlined in the introductory paragraph. There are also liability issues: should you attempt to remove asbestos yourself and expose others, you will be held responsible in a court of law just like the asbestos corporations who engaged in a sixty-year cover-up regarding the health effects of asbestos.

In addition, asbestos removal is strenuous, demanding work. The protective clothing required can be hot and uncomfortable, and breathing through a respirator puts more strain on the heart and lungs.

The following material is informational in nature: the owners of the website accept no liability should you choose to undertake asbestos abatement on your own.

Required Equipment

This is a basic list of equipment:

  • A Respirator.  This must be a half-face, dual cartridge type with a pair of HEPA filters. Make certain that it fits properly, and check the respirator seal prior to using. If you wear a beard, you will need to shave it off.
  • Disposable Coveralls. You’ll need several pairs. These should include built-in booties; make certain they’re a bit on the large size for comfort. These coveralls are to be used once, then disposed of in a properly sealed asbestos waste bag when leaving the contaminated area.
  • Rubber Gloves. You’ll also need several pairs of durable, disposable pairs. Again, these should be disposed up each time a worker leaves the contaminated area.
  • Rubber Boots. Make certain these are of the laceless (pull-on) type without any sort of metal fasteners so they do not wear through the booties of your coveralls. These may be washed off later, or disposed of with the rest of the contaminated debris.
  • Eye Protection. Everyone working in the contaminated area must have goggles that are vented so as to prevent fogging.

'Protective Gear Required To Remove Asbestos' Sources:

  • Bowker, Michael. Deadly Deception. (New York: Touchstone, 2003)
  • Utah State Department of Air Quality. "Asbestos Removal Procedures for Home Owners." (State of Utah, 2007).