Connecticut (CT) Asbestos Removal & Abatement Resources:
The Connecticut Department of Public Health recognizes asbestos as a "mineral fiber" that can be found in over 3,000 products and separates it into two categories, friable and non-friable asbestos (2). Friable asbestos refers to asbestos that can be crushed into dust using hand pressure, and it is that kind of asbestos that is dangerous, as it can become airborne, where it can be inhaled (2). Some of the materials that the state identifies as being common asbestos containing materials are floor coverings and adhesives, boilers, pipe insulation, roof flashing, roof shingles, exterior siding, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, plaster walls, and wallboard joint compound (2). While in most cases people who have experienced low levels of exposure to asbestos suffer no ill effects, in the case of prolonged or intense exposure asbestos exposure can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, which are all potentially fatal diseases (1). The Department of Public Health also recognizes that improper disturbances of asbestos containing materials can increase the potential for the development of such diseases (1). Because of this, cutting, sanding, grinding, or otherwise destroying asbestos containing materials, such as in a demolition or renovation project could create a health hazard (1). While Colorado recommends leaving asbestos containing building materials that are fully intact alone, when renovations and demolitions are involved, they recommend having the building or area inspected prior to demolition (2). If it is determined that the levels of friable or airborne asbestos are unsafe, it may be necessary to abate the asbestos before proceeding.
Professional Asbestos Workers
To be permitted to complete any job in relation to asbestos handling or consulting, all workers must be certified according to the regulations of the United States government and the state of Connecticut. To be certified, a worker must attend courses, the content and intensity of which differs depending on the way that the worker will be handling asbestos. For example, any person wishing to be a certified asbestos abatement site supervisor must complete a five day training course, including lectures, demonstrations, fourteen hours of hands on training, respirator fit testing, course review, and achieve at least a seventy percent on a final examination (3). Some of the content that is taught in these courses is identifying asbestos, potential health effects of asbestos exposure, personal protective equipment, general work practices, personal hygiene, medical monitoring, air monitoring, and federal, state, and local regulations and laws (3). General asbestos workers must complete a similar program that is four days in length and pass a similar exam (3). All of this training provides professionals with the knowledge and practice to safely inspect and contain asbestos, and it should never be handled by unlicensed individuals. licensing and training requirements.
If a building has been tested and it is determined that it has dangerous amounts of friable asbestos, it maybe be necessary for professionals to abate the asbestos, especially when demolition or renovation is to take place. There are many licensed contractors in Connecticut who will be able to safely carry this out adhering to the rules stipulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health.
Preparing the Site
Before any removal of asbestos can begin, workers must follow strict procedures to set up the area safely. First, warning signs must be posted at all approaches to the work site at sufficient distances (4). Then the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit must be turned off from the facility to avoid spreading contamination (4). The work area must also be completely separated from the rest of the facility with airtight barriers, covering all windows corridors, vents, and other openings (4). At that point all unfixed objects must be wet cleaned or HEPA vacuumed before being removed from the area (4). All fixed objects must be cleaned and securely covered before proceeding (4). Then the surfaces of the floor and walls must be covered with sheeting (4). Negative pressure ventilation must be established, and finally, worker decontamination systems must be set up (4).
Once all of the site preparation has been completed, the workers are ready to begin the process of abatement. There are several regulations that must be adhered to in Connecticut to maximize safety. First, all material that is to be disturbed must be thoroughly wetted before handled to minimize the occurrence of dust, and when possible, the wetted pieces must be removed intact and in large sections (4). When working from heights, pieces of waste must be lowered gently to the ground, rather than dropped, also to prevent airborne asbestos fibers (4). All supplies that are used inside the enclosed area must not be removed from the area until they have been appropriately cleaned (4). Like all of the surfaces, the tools must be cleaned using HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaners and wet wiping to ensure maximum cleanliness (4). Finally, all of the surfaces that were stripped of asbestos containing material must be coated with an approved encapsulant (4). All of these precautions are mandated and are set in place to ensure that all workers and members of the public are exposed to as little airborne asbestos as possible. Once this is complete, it is the contractor’s responsibility to test the air, make arrangements to dispose of the waste appropriately and remove the enclosures. Any licensed asbestos professional is knowledgeable in the regulations of disposing of such waste.
Encapsulation and Enclosure
Encapsulation and encasement are two other options that owners of buildings can choose to utilize to control asbestos. Instead of removing the asbestos from the building, these methods enclose or seal off the asbestos, reducing the threat of it becoming airborne. These two also have specific regulations. For example, in encapsulation the sealant used to trap the asbestos must contain no asbestos and be applied with airless spray equipment (4).
If you believe that your home or business may be putting your family or employees at risk of asbestos exposure, it is recommended that you hire a professional to inspect the premises, assess the problem, and discuss the options for solving any asbestos problems you may find. This inspection is especially important before renovation and demolition projects, as they could create a significant amount of damaged asbestos fibers that could become airborne and dangerous. There are many certified asbestos inspectors, workers, and managers right in Connecticut who can help you with all of your asbestos abatement needs.
'Connecticut (CT) Asbestos Removal & Abatement Resources' Sources:
- "Asbestos Program: What are the Health Risks?" Connecticut Department of Public Health. 26 Sept 2007 <http://www.dph.state.ct.us/BRS/asbestos/asbestos_healthrisk.htm>.
- "Asbestos Program: What is Asbestos?" Connecticut Department of Public Health. 26 Sept 2007 < http://www.dph.state.ct.us/BRS/asbestos/asbestos_natural.htm>.
- "DPH Asbestos Regulations: Licensing and Training Requirements." Connecticut Department of Public Health. 26 Sept 2007 <http://www.dph.state.ct.us/BRS/Asbestos/asbestos_program.htm>.
- "DPH Asbestos Regulations: Standards for Asbestos Abatement." Connecticut Department of Public Health. 26 Sept 2007 <http://www.dph.state.ct.us/BRS/Asbestos/asbestos_program.htm>.