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Removing asbestos particles from the air is critical in ensuring a healthy environment for all inhabitants. Asbestos is a regulated product whose essence lies in its insulation capabilities. The material is highly heat resistant, making it a preferred insulation material for most people.
However, asbestos is a highly toxic material with adverse effects on human health. For this reason, it is essential to clear the air in your home of asbestos particles using an air purifier. The most common and recommended purifiers are high-efficiency particulate absorber (HEPA) air filters.
The filters help clear the air of all particulate matter, leaving the air in a room clean and healthy. The efficiency rating of HEPA air filters is rated at about 99.97%, which is quite high. The near-perfection guarantees minimal chances of asbestos inhalation.
The 3 Best Air Purifiers That Filter Asbestos I Recommend are:
Asbestos particles have minuscule dimensions and are generally as small as 0.1 to 10 µm. The implication is that they are relatively denser than air particles and are likely to settle faster. HEPA filters take advantage of such density to absorb the particles while still suspended in the air.
The devices work by absorbing particulate matter from the air and trapping them on a fiberglass mat. Purified air is then allowed through and back into the atmosphere. It is essential to note that HEPA air filters require continued use for better results.
The reason is that there is the likelihood of asbestos particles being missed in the initial introduction of HEPA. They are essential for use in asbestos-based structures erected before the regulations on asbestos use came into force.
It is advisable to place one HEPA filter per room for better results and keep the doors and windows closed. Note that the units are only recommended for use in environments with asbestos products that have not experienced any damage.
How long will asbestos stay in the air?
Asbestos particles remain suspended in the air based on the prevailing conditions. For instance, if there is wind, the particles may be blown all over, making them remain suspended for long. However, asbestos particles will likely settle on surfaces and walls in a calm environment. Asbestos particles can float in the air indefinitely if treated incorrectly.
The particles can settle in carpets, gaps in furniture and walls, between wooden floorboards, and a variety of other cracks and crevices. When these particles experience a considerable disturbance, they can easily become airborne, posing a health risk.
For these reasons, abatement firms are authorized to remove asbestos and asbestos-containing materials from houses. They have the requisite training on the best ways to encapsulate it and dispose of it in accordance with the safety regulations.
Notably, human activity like foot traffic and dusting is likely to reintroduce the particles into the air. Therefore, there is no specific period for the particles to remain suspended. If you suspect the presence of asbestos within your environment, you must take precautionary measures.
The first step will be to procure a HEPA air filter or wear a recommended dust mask or respirator. Humidity also plays a key role in ensuring that particulate matter does not remain suspended. Asbestos does not dissolve in moisture, but a moist atmosphere makes it difficult for particulate matter to float around. Therefore, you may consider increasing the levels of humidity in your room to help reduce the movement of asbestos particles in the air.
Which respirators protect against asbestos?
If you are in a situation where you need to clear out asbestos but still need to be in the area for whatever reason, then it would be best to use a respirator that will protect you. I listed a few recommendations below for respirators I have used over the years:
Considering the dangers posed by asbestos, special care is advised. Special respirators designed to protect individuals working in asbestos-filled areas exist. It is crucial to confirm the capabilities of a respirator before purchasing one.
Choosing the right respirator ensures the right mask fit to eliminate gaps along the mask lining. The next thing is ensuring that the cartridge or filter is P100 rated. P100 respirators are inspected and approved by bodies of experts who have the requisite knowledge on handling asbestos pollution. Scientists and health experts are usually consulted before releasing the respirators for use by the public.
The filters, which are also known as cartridges, are designed to trap asbestos particles and not let them through to the wearer’s nose. You might be wondering how long you can use the respirators. Fortunately, they are re-usable upon replacing the cartridges.
You must clean your respirator thoroughly before and after every use to ensure that no asbestos particles remain on the surface. Notably, asbestos can defy almost every chemically induced change, including heat, moisture, and chemical absorption. Therefore, the best way to handle it is to collect it and properly dispose of it in designated areas. The implication is that even the used cartridges must be collected and disposed of with utmost care.
How can I choose an asbestos respirator?
Irrespective of the quantities, airborne asbestos is highly toxic. Asbestos respirators are critical in ensuring you breathe air free of asbestos and other particulate matter. The recommended asbestos respirators must have a P100 rating. Choosing an asbestos respirator helps you protect yourself from poor health conditions such as lung cancers, asbestosis, and mesothelioma, among other conditions.
If you suspect an asbestos infestation in your environment, you must take precautionary measures to protect yourself from the conditions mentioned. Respirators must fit properly and be airtight to prevent particulate matter from entering possible openings.
Note that you need to partake in making your respirator efficient by shaving off all facial hair, including beards in men. Hair cannot allow a respirator to achieve an airtight fit. Facial hair will likely expose you to asbestos particles despite wearing a recommended respirator.
Additionally, if you are removing asbestos from your house, you must wear an asbestos respirator for your safety. However, it is recommended that you seek professional services to have asbestos removed from your house or home safely. The reason is that you are likely to put your neighbors at risk of inhaling asbestos particles if you are not qualified to handle the material.
HVAC tech with over 30 years of experience. Retired and doing repair work on the side around Madison County, AL.