Acoustic Asbestos Ceiling Removal, Is It Necessary?

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Homeowners with acoustic asbestos ceiling question about the effects of asbestos contained within its materials that if inhaled would cause serious health hazards.

If material contains more than 1% of asbestos, EPA defines as it's containing. However, asbestos can only be positively identified by microscope. Many of the homes built prior to 1980s observe acoustic asbestos ceilings, and the removal of acoustic asbestos ceiling has become commonly done for environmental safety precautions.

Many homes contain acoustic asbestos ceiling in their bedrooms, living rooms, with spray-applied textures. However, asbestos materials are also in pipe insulation, shingles, floor tile, mastics, roofing, structural steel fireproofing, etc.

University of Arizona Dept. of Risk Management and Safety explains the hazards of asbestos in the following manner.

"Asbestos is a respiratory hazard and espiratory/gastrointestinal carcinogen. Exposure to asbestos occurs when reparable fibers are released into the air and then inhaled. Since exposure occurs when asbestos is inhaled, the best way to prevent exposure is to prevent asbestos fibers from becoming airborne.

Asbestos containing materials are therefore divided into two categories: friable and non-friable. Friable means that a material is able to be reduced to powder by hand pressure. Asbestos containing materials that are friable, by their nature, have a much greater tendency to release fibers. They require specific control measures to prevent releasing fibers into the air. Conversely, non-friable asbestos containing materials, by their nature, do not want to give up their fibers into the air. This class of materials must be mechanically impacted (power tools such as sanders, drills, chippers, saws, etc.) to release fibers. Asbestos containing textured ceiling materials is a friable material."

Is Asbestos Ceiling Removal Hazardous?

Although breathing of asbestos fibers post threats to human health, unless air contamination occurs to cause releasing of asbestos airborne and becomes friable, it would not affect environment. Moreover, several layers of paint applied to the ceiling over the years serves to "seal" acoustic asbestos ceiling and withhold materials from dangerously contacting occupants.

Homeowners should not unnecessarily impact the ceiling by placing fixtures onto the ceiling or by moving objects surrounding the environment. When done improperly, asbestos becomes into airborne and increases the risk of releasing its fibers to be inhaled. Because asbestos fibers are small and light, they can be suspended in the air for long periods of time. Therefore, unprofessional management of acoustic asbestos ceiling removal should not be preceded and a licensed asbestos abatement professional must conduct removal.

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Takuya Hikichi, President of Investopedia, Inc. Las Vegas based marketing firm specializes in small business marketing, e-commerce and search engine optimization. Hikichi also hosts forums and conferences with entrepreneurs in areas of investment, Nevada strategies, e-commerce.

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