Asbestos Removal Equipment

Introduction to Asbestos Removal Equipment

The volatility of aging asbestos makes it a difficult substance to remove safely.  In most cases, as the material becomes more dry with time it becomes more susceptible to decay and can literally crumble at the slightest touch (friable) sending fine carcinogenic fibres into the air.  Once airborne the fibres are easily taken into and dispersed by building ventilation systems.  The dust from the settled particulates then poses a secondary risk during clean up and can become airborne once more creating a significant health hazard as inhalation increases risk of cancer and other life threatening respiratory conditions.

Fortunately new technology has provided certified professionals with an arsenal of new tools and asbestos removal equipment to successfully and safely manage the task.  New materials are available which specialize in capturing fibres in a more efficient way to prevent sending particles into the air and coatings and applications that prevent movement or contamination by the dust.  The new generation of asbestos removal equipment provides greater performance and enhanced protection for qualified technicians involved in the trade.

Water Surfactant

A light mist (which prevents agitation of the asbestos) is applied onto the material which helps to trap loose fibres and prevent the material from breaking and further contaminating the air.  But water alone does not sufficiently trap the fibres and in terms of asbestos removal equipment the first line of defence is a water surfactant which lowers the density of water allowing it to penetrate asbestos materials more effectively.  The chemical is mixed with water in a canister and then applied (and allowed to penetrate) into the material before removal begins.

Mastic Remover

Asbestos removal equipment varies depending on whether the material is friable (easily broken apart) or non-friable (harder surface types of asbestos such as floor tiles or pipes).  If the asbestos is of the non-friable variety it has a substantially lower risk of sending contaminated fibres into the air until it is cut or scraped aggressively.  However the adhesive for the flooring may be dried and require removal as well as it commonly features a concentration of the fibre.  In order to prevent the fibres from escaping during demolition, a substance called mastic remover is applied as a sealant first.

Negative Air Machines

Air filtration units are one of the most critically important pieces of asbestos removal equipment responsible for greatly eliminating the amount of dust in the air.  The filtration intake is responsible for removing the harmful particulates and the exhaust is designed to avoid creating any air flow behind the machine which may send more fibres into the environment.

Given the fine composition of the asbestos fibre a special degree of filtration is required to achieve this.  Negative air machines are typically constructed with two pre-filters and two HEPA filters to ensure the best possible air quality.  The size of the Negative Air Machine will vary according to the job and all filters come with a CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) rating to determine the appropriate level of filtration for the site. 

Personal Protection

The most important aspect of removal is personal safety and all asbestos removal equipment must include quality protection for workers and personnel.  Portable decontamination showers allow for the easy installation of a rinse station inside the controlled disposal area.  Dual cartridge respirators are recommended with a minimum of two HEPA filters, as well as tyvek (paper) coveralls, lace-less rubber boots, gloves and sealed safety goggles should be used at all times.