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FAQ: Asbestos Cleanup Methods

What are the main types of Asbestos cleanup methods?
The three types are encapsulants, enclosure or removal.

What does encapsulating achieve?
Encapsulants are used to prevent fiber release and retain asbestos containing material. Several types of encapsulants on the market today include penetrating and bridging compounds. A penetrating encapsulant can be applied like paint. While sealing the surface, it does nothing to bind the asbestos containing material. Therefore, special care must be taken to add a thicker layer of encapsulant to weaken the bond that causes the material to delaminate.

What does enclosure achieve?
If the asbestos-containing material (ACM) is in an area where it will not be disturbed, the area can be sealed off. An example of this is asbestos-insulated pipes. If located in a crawl space, it can be easily sealed off from the main living space. The crawl space entrance should be labeled so that future owners will know to use caution when entering such an area.

What does removal achieve?
An expensive measure used mostly when the ACM is significantly damaged, it should only be performed by a certified and insured asbestos professional. When a removal operation is in progress, the work space is isolated with plastic and put under negative pressure using negative air machines utilizing high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. The ACM is removed after wetting with amended water. These steps prevent asbestos fibers from migrating out of the work area into other areas of the building. Small amounts of material can sometimes be removed by the glove bag method. After all of the material is repaired or removed a clearance air sample is taken by an independent third party to verify the success of the abatement.


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