How to Successfully Remove Asbestos

It is extremely important to remove asbestos with very particular procedures in place. When asbestos is being removed, the particles become airborne and stay that way for a long time –and, are quite dangerous to the lungs.  The stringent procedures are designed to minimize the airborne particulate, thereby protecting the workers and the public at large.  For more perspective, see:  

When inhaled, they become trapped in the lungs resulting in breathing problems and even lung cancer.   The gestation period can be 25-30 years before symptoms occur.

With the right procedures followed, asbestos doesn’t have to be a danger to people or the environment.


It is important to know from the start that asbestos removal is never a good idea for a person to complete without certification. Each state has its own procedures in place for that certification to be completed. Only hire someone that can prove they have current certification to do the job.


A contractor will take samples to confirm if there is actually asbestos or not. The samples will come from several locations within the structure to make sure that the testing is accurate. The samples will be sent to a lab and it can take a few weeks for those results to come back.  More on that here:  Is it Asbestos?


Work around if Possible

It may be determined that the work to be done such as remodeling can be done without removing the asbestos. When it is left alone, then there is no health risk from the fibers. Some projects may be possible to complete and to leave those areas alone. When that isn’t possible then the removal process will be implemented.

Breathing Equipment and Clothing

Studies show that even up to 30 years after exposure, asbestos can cause damage to the lungs. That is why removal should never be attempted without the use of breathing equipment and clothing that have been approved for such projects. Investing in these items can be very expensive but necessary to protect the health of those involved.

A respirator is a breathing device that can prevent airborne particulate (like asbestos fibers) from being inhaled and entering the lungs. However, it can be a heavy device and it can be harder than normal to breathe with one on.

Be aware that not everyone is physically fit enough to breathe through a respirator.  Professionals must be ‘fit-tested’ in a respirator as part of their certification.

The coveralls for asbestos removal are specialized and cause a person to be uncomfortable due to excessive sweating.  It is advised that in hot environments, the time in the coveralls and respirator be limited, broken up by ample breaks. Ensure the uptake of water is adequate.

Electrical Areas

In order for asbestos to be successfully removed, it has to be wet and then scraped away. This can prove to be a difficult and risky task around wires and electrical areas. It is best to turn off all of the power to the sources around the wires and to work with other forms of lighting that don’t have to be plugged into an outlet.  See Electrical Precautions


Time Involved

The removal of asbestos is a very slow and time consuming process. On average, each room in a home will take 1 week to complete. This includes a ½ day for setting up and a ½ day for removal of the equipment and supplies. For a large home or a business the time could be up to 10 days per room.


There are specific laws that pertain to the overall disposal of asbestos after it has been removed. It must be properly bagged and labeled and then take to a station for disposal that is able to handle this type of material. There are limited locations in each state so paying for transportation to the closest destination is also involved.

For more perspective on the Asbestos industry and the human suffering that has resulted over the decades, visit:


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