Is It Legal to Remove Asbestos Yourself?

By Stan G. in Removal

Asbestos exposure has been found to cause serious health problems such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other types of lung disease which develop when asbestos fibers are inhaled. These afflictions are often fatal and, consequently, people who discover asbestos in their homes are frequently concerned and might consider removing the troublesome products.

If you wonder whether removing asbestos from your home on your own is legal, the answer is yes. There are no federal regulations preventing homeowners from doing this. However, the process implies a high risk of asbestos exposure if not carried out properly, as disturbing asbestos-containing materials leads to the release of toxic fibers in the air. Therefore, hiring a certified abatement company is highly recommended, since it is the safest way to have asbestos removed from your house. These companies have both the experience and the tools to spare everyone an unnecessary risk.

Asbestos Waste

Another important thing to know if you choose to remove asbestos yourself is how to manage the waste. The effective protocol regarding asbestos disposal must be complied with in order to avoid putting yourself at risk for health problems and liability issues.

Materials containing this toxic mineral cannot just be thrown away like regular garbage. It is essential for people to follow the federal rules concerning disposal, as these materials can release high levels of asbestos fibers when disturbed. Therefore, asbestos-containing products must be discarded of in a special facility. The law requires all materials containing 1% asbestos or more to be disposed of in a waste area designated for this type of products.

Keep in mind that depositing asbestos waste in unauthorized places is illegal and attracts financial punishments. Proceeding otherwise than following your state's asbestos disposal protocol may lead to the contamination of your house, as well as of the environment, with microscopic fibers which cannot be completely removed afterwards. In this kind of situations, removal companies are not legally allowed to come and help you, as they would also put themselves at risk. Having professional workers remove the asbestos-containing products from your home safely and correctly is recommended to avoid health and legal issues.

Testing First

If you suspect the presence of asbestos within your home, do not rush to remove it. The most likely houses to contain asbestos are those built prior to the 1980s, so yours might be asbestos-free.

It is advisable to have a sample of the material in question tested by a certified laboratory in order to confirm your hypothesis. However, collecting a sample by yourself is not a good idea. This process can lead to the release of dangerous fibers in the air if done incorrectly, so it is recommended to leave this job to professional testers.

If test results show the presence of asbestos, you have two options available:

  • Removal. If the asbestos-containing products are damaged, you will need to have them removed by a professional company. When in poor condition, these products entail a high risk of asbestos exposure.
  • Encapsulation. Undisturbed materials which are in relatively good condition can be left alone, as they are not very dangerous. You can also choose to encapsulate these products. This removal alternative ensures long-term protection against asbestos exposure.

Having your products tested for asbestos is very important and will certainly be useful in figuring out what would be better to do next. Asbestos surveyors can help you with recommendations regarding your options, so do not hesitate to contact one.

Why Should I Test Products in My Home for Asbestos?

It is often impossible to tell whether asbestos is embedded in a material, as the fibers are too small to be observed with the naked eye. Exposure to asbestos is responsible for serious respiratory conditions, so thorough testing is required to ensure your home is asbestos-free.