Answering Your Question About Asbestos

Asbestos was once commonly used as a building insulator but is now outlawed as a construction material in many areas of the world. If your home or office has asbestos, or you suspect the presence of asbestos for any reason, it's best to call an asbestos management company for a full inspection and plan of action. In the meantime, note a few common questions about asbestos and its management.

When is asbestos dangerous? 

Asbestos is only dangerous and unhealthy when inhaled. The presence of asbestos itself is not necessarily dangerous, if the material is contained properly and completely and does not become airborne. Many asbestos management plans include containment versus removal; the material might be secured behind thick sheeting, drywall and other materials that keep it in place and prevent it from becoming airborne. Containment should also prevent anyone from coming into contact with asbestos fibres.

Is it illegal to have asbestos in a building?

Laws vary from location to location, so only an attorney can note if asbestos is allowed in your office, retail establishment and so on. An attorney can also note if there are limits to the amount of asbestos allowed in your building and your responsibilities as a homeowner, business owner or landlord.

It might be the case that a certain amount of asbestos is allowed in your commercial building but must be contained properly. In some cases, employees must be told about the presence of asbestos and be notified of your asbestos management plan. Again, these requirements will vary from place to place, so speak with a real estate attorney about your obligations and rights as a property owner if you know or even suspect the presence of asbestos in your building.

Can you legally remove asbestos yourself?

As with asbestos containment, laws will vary from place to place when it comes to DIY asbestos removal. In some areas, a building owner or homeowner is allowed to remove a certain amount of asbestos on their own but will be required to contain removed asbestos properly and take it to a hazardous waste disposal facility rather than setting it out with standard trash.

However, even if legal in your area, it's not recommended that a person manage asbestos removal on their own. Even with proper breathing apparatus and protective clothing, asbestos might become airborne or cling to clothes and shoes and then settle in other areas of a building. Rely on expert asbestos removal and management for your own safety.