Many of Georgia's buildings still contain materials made with asbestos. Fortunately, experts say that it does not cause ill health effects unless it's disturbed. Once it becomes disturbed, however, it becomes dangerous for anyone exposed to the dust or fibers.
If you locate any asbestos, do not try to get rid of it on your own. First, it may violate state and federal laws for you to do so. Second, because of the strict rules surrounding its removal, only certified and qualified professionals should do it.
What do the rules say about asbestos removal?
First, if you suspect the presence of asbestos, you must call in a qualified inspector to confirm your suspicions. If confirmed, the area will need to be closed off to everyone until the removal, or abatement, process is complete. After choosing a qualified and certified asbestos abatement company, the following will occur:
- Sealing off of the affected area from the rest of the structure, unless it is the entire structure
- Installing an air filtration system to ensure that the dust and fibers do not escape the area
- Dampening of all materials containing asbestos
- Placing contaminated materials in leak-tight containers
- Removing of all the contaminated materials
- Taking removed materials to the appropriate disposal site
- Wiping down and cleaning all surfaces inside the contaminated area
- Using HEPA vacuums to remove airborne dust and fibers remaining
- Applying a sealant to contain any remaining asbestos
- Testing of a sample in the contaminated area by an independent facility
If the process succeeds, the abatement company removes the barriers and air filtration devices so that you can once again use the space. If the process fails, the company must seal the area forever. It is important that the company removing the asbestos and the company conducting any testing are not the same. This avoids any perceived conflict of interest by anyone.
Failing to properly complete the process could result in litigation from anyone who suffers exposure to this toxic substance. Even if it takes decades for any symptoms to appear, a victim could trace it back to you and file litigation against you, which could cost you a substantial amount of money. The upfront cost of doing things right the first time far outweighs the potential financial losses due to toxic exposure claims.