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Advice For Safe Asbestos Removal

Asbestos is a multipurpose product and is perfect as insulation and fire proofing. It is a natural mineral which has been in usage for around 150 years on a huge commercial scale. Unfortunately it also could cause serious diseases of the lung such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Asbestos is such a dangerous health risk that a medical condition has been named specifically for it: Asbestosis, a permanent lung tissue scarring. Today, contrary to earlier belief, it is known that exposure to tiny amounts of asbestos as could happen during routine work over an extended period of time, could also lead to these illnesses.

The enormity of the global asbestos danger was acknowledged both by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2006. A June 2006 ILO Resolution Concerning Asbestos got adopted during the ILO's General Conference. The ILO General Conference resolved to work towards the elimination of all future asbestos usage so as to protect the health of workers.

To live in a home having intact asbestos doesn't automatically pose any health risk. If in good shape, or utilized in some out-of-the-way zone or area such as plumbing for pipes or heating insulation in your attic or crawlspace, it is best to simply leave it in place.

How To Remove Asbestos
Private businesses ought to dispose off their asbestos only through licensed asbestos stripping firms, irrespective of the quantity involved. In domestic situations the home owner may undertake the asbestos removal but must adhere to the laid down regulations by respective regulating authorities.

The following safety precautions should be followed to protect your own health and that of your neighbours :
  • Prior to handling asbestos one ought to get and wear suitable coveralls plus an approved dust mask or respirator.
  • The structures to be brought down ought to be first dampened with water to reduce the likelihood of any airborne fibre release into the air.
  • Asbestos structures should only get dismantled during calm weather to avoid spreading the dangerous asbestos dust.
  • Avoid breaking up the asbestos materials into pieces.
  • Coveralls, dustsheets, masks etc should be disposed off in the recommended manner and appropriately marked as 'Asbestos Waste'.
  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner or sweep the site as this could spread the dust.
  • Asbestos should never get disposed of in the general waste bin.
In Australia, homeowners may legally remove non-friable asbestos up to 10 square metres from their private property. However, respective National, Territory and State Regulations and Laws do apply. For instance, across Australia, landfills accepting asbestos will only receive the material if it is wrapped properly in suitable plastic and sealed.

During the 8th Global Civil Society 2007 Forum held in Nairobi organized by the United Nations Environment Programme, asbestos was considered a priority issue. This meeting had brought together 160 civil society representatives from 65 countries.

Under the topic titled "Asbestos", the GCSF-8's Chemicals Working Group prepared a 2-page document which noted that UNEP ought to promote a better understanding of the regional and global impact of all types of asbestos, especially on public health and on the environment and to also offer guidelines for a strategy towards the elimination globally of asbestos use.
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