asbestos removal - is this insane?

yinzermamaAugust 11, 2008

There are a couple of asbestos wrapped pipes in the cellar of the house we're working on closing on. I had an asbestos guy come out to look at it and say whether it looked OK, needed to go, whatever.

He said it didn't look like a problem and did not recommend professional removal... but said I could wrap it in duct tape to encapsulate it (which sounds sane enough) or remove it myself by wetting it down and chiseling it into a garbage bag (which seems completely insane to me!)

Is removing it myself really a good idea? It's not a huge amount... maybe 2 lengths of pipe, 2 feet long, right next to each other.

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Pretty standard advice.

I'd just encapsulate it. But if you're removing it, check with your local authorities on recommended disposal. Some require one, others two 6mil bags; some require that it be in a barrel as well.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 11:11PM
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This stuff is dangerous and can affect the health of everyone in the house if it isn't encapsulated or removed properly. We also discovered asbestos wrapped pipes/ducts in the basement and had the guys in moon suits come out and get rid of it.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 12:09AM
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I think your best bet would be to encapsulate it. Asbestos isn't dangerous if it is in good condition and you don't have loose fibers.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 12:24AM
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Your asbestos guy said "it didn't look like a problem", did he test the material wrapping the pipe for asbestos? We had the same concern and the guy who came to our house took samples, sent them off for testing and they did contain asbestos. (Two different types of stuff and one was over 80% asbestos). Since we were replacing the heating ducts, we had them removed by an asbestos removal contractor (guys in moon suits and we had to leave the house for 2 days). We got a certificate of abatement (important in some cases for resale). If you are not disturbing the asbestos and it is not damaged or friable, then you can leave it in place and encapsulate it. You can wet it and remove it, but I would not be comfortable doing that given the health hazards and some states require very specific removal only to dumps that accept the stuff. If I were you, I'd probably get it tested before deciding what to do. One more thing, professional removal and disposal is expensive. It cost us $5,000 for some covered pipes in the basement and some old vinyl flooring to be abated. FWIW, If you are still in the process of closing on the house, maybe you can get the seller to knock some off the price...

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 2:01PM
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Most asbestos problems occur when people try to remove it themselves. Do NOT wet it and remove it...I guarantee that halfway through you will have a mess and will have created a hazard where none existed before. Such removals are a job for professionals.

Unless it is crumbling and allowing dust to be released it is not a hazard...unless it is disturbed. If it is sound, you can "lock down" the surface by slightly misting it with a little water from a pump spray bottle, and then applying a layer of latex paint. Alternatively, you may be able to buy a little bit of encapsulant (a sticky liquid that forms a barrier) from an abatement firm and spray that on. Even if it appears sound, it's still a good idea to wear a respirator with asbestos-specific canisters ($40 at Home Depot) when doing this. Don't settle for a $2 dust mask: it provides virtually no protection from microscopic asbestos fibers. Also, do not use a regular vacuum on it as the fibers will go right through the vacuum bag and become airborne throughout your house. If you have any dust on the floor, moisten it and clean it up with paper towels and dispose of them in a sealed plastic bag.

At some point (like when you remodel or move) you may want to or have to get it removed, but it sounds like that's not necessary now.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 2:34PM
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I think I may get an estimate on having it removed (this company didn't do removal... frankly now I am wondering what the heck exactly I paid them for...) ... but I will probably just wrap it in duct tape. Lots and lots of duct tape. And if anyone needs an asbestos check in western PA - I can tell you what company NOT to use!!!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 5:52PM
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The physical act of wrapping the asbestos pipe insulation can and will disturb the joints and allow fibers to be emitted into the surrounding air.

Per EPA specifications a Trained Asbestos abatement technician can remove up to 3' of asbestos pipe insulation by first enclosing the section in a plastic glove bag, the reaching inside the containment they wet the material and deposit it in an approved asbestos abatement bag.

When it is necessary to remove more than 3" we are required to create a negative air zone and use HEPA filters to filter all the air in the workspace.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 6:11PM
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Good point. On one house I had, I was told by the municipal advisor to enclose asbestos wrap in sections of plastic then tape the ends. IOW, don't disturb the asbestos.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 1:31PM
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great. now i'm too scared to go the tape route. maybe i will just close the door to that room and seal the door with 90 miles of duct tape! We don't really need that room...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 2:38PM
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We had a house with asbestos insulation around all the steam pipes in the cellar. We never thought about it, way back then in the 70s and 80s. When we put the house up for sale in 1986, we had to spend about $2K for its professional removal according to special standards. If you have not signed on the dotted line for that house, I would ask the seller to have the stuff removed professionally AND TO TEST THE AIR AFTER THE REMOVAL IS COMPLETE, to confirm that no airborne particles are around to cause great harm to your lungs. Even a little bit of that stuff can be harmful years later, especially to children. Since the amount of asbestos in this situation is small, the cost for its professional removal should be modest. Depending on the kind of rapport you have with the seller, you might want to offer to split the cost with them.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 5:56PM
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You hired the wrong guy. Pay a professional to remove it, dispose of it legally, and be done with it. For this small quantity in a separate room it can probably be done with a glove bag. Duct tape is temporary like all tapes. It shouldn't even be used to seal ducts.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 12:07PM
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What is a glove bag exactly?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 7:49PM
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It is an enclosure/bag that goes around the asbestos covered pipe and it has arm holes, sleeves, and gloves in it that allow you to work on the asbestos without exposing yourself.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 11:07PM
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At the risk of being attacked by the folks here who seem to be affiliated with asbestos abatement programs, I'd like to point out that, even among asbestos miners exposed to heavy asbestos unprotected for years or decades, the great majority never developed asbestosis or any pulmonary problems.

I'm not saying asbestos isn't dangerous, because clearly it can lead to an early death in some people exposed to it. But I believe the EPA's approach gets people needlessly worried. Years ago, people were exposed to asbestos regularly at home or at work, and never thought twice about it. And most cases of asbestosis occur only in those with high rates of chronic exposure. In other words, I'd bet Yinzermama could forget about the asbestos-wrapped pipe and still live to a ripe old age.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 12:06AM
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I agree. As long as the asbestos on the pipe is in good condition I wouldn't mess with it. The only time it becomes an issue is at resale because people are needlessly worried. My lawyer talked me into having the sellers remove the asbestos covering the steam pipes in my basement when I bought my house. They were in excellent condition, but I did it anyway because I didn't want to get stuck having to do it when I sell someday. There really was no other reason to do so.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 1:49PM
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You mentioned that the asbestos insulation is on a 2-ft long section of two pipes. What kind of pipe is it? What is it for? How accessible is it?

If you really want to remove it yourself, you could seal the asbestos insulation (wrap it well in poly?) and entirely remove and replace the two sections of pipe...insulation and all.

Of course I don't know the details of your situation, but it may be an easy solution.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 6:49AM
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Did they disclose this on their listing? It's a state law here to disclose this when putting a house up for sale. It's in all the listing contracts, whether you know you have asbestoes or not in your house. If they did, and you signed anyhows, I'd think dealing with it is your problem now. If this is a 'new' discovery, I would surely want the seller to have it abated or remediated.

Whether it's as dangerous as the laws imply it is or not, just having the "A" word associated with a house is the scarlet letter. What I find in this area is that people do the SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL routine with asbestoes. They sort of ignore it, never have it tested, so they can say they 'didn't know' they had it in their homes and pass it along to the purchaser who often takes it, knowing there is some, but is afraid to have the seller deal with it, for fear their dream home won't qualify for a mortgage.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 12:06PM
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"Did they disclose this on their listing? It's a state law here to disclose this when putting a house up for sale."

Another law without any real effect.

You would have to prove the seller knew the material was asbestos and failed to disclose the fact that a clearly visible item was knowingly asbestos.

Absent proof that the seller had a lab test performed, and then failed to disclose you will not get anywhere.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 7:58PM
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I agree it's a toothless law, but it's still there. Granted, to be sure it has to be tested, but geesh......a house of a 'certain age' with funny looking white tape on the duct work? You'd have to be born under rock not to even suspect it.

It's a moot point Brickeyes. She knows it's asbestos and hasn't even closed on it. It's going to be an issue again when/if she sells the house, because she DOES KNOW it's asbestoes, so she can't claim to be ignorant of it. The next prospective buyer may not want it there (who does?) and may not want to pay for having it removed. You know that. So, should she pay to get rid of it, or should the seller? If I were buying a house in this market, I'd let the seller take it out of their profits.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:41PM
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"It's going to be an issue again when/if she sells the house, because she DOES KNOW it's asbestoes, so she can't claim to be ignorant of it."

Based on a visual examination?
She suspects it is asbestos but without testing that is all you have, a suspicion.

Removing it is it is otherwise intact is just plain old hysteria.
Even the EPA admitted (after costing schools millions of dollars) that the vast majority of the asbestos that had been removed should have been left alone.

There are a number of encapsulation methods that will make asbestos pipe lagging perfectly safe without the huge fees required to remove it.

Got to love the plaintiff's bar.
They have been making a fortune off asbestos for many years now.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 8:41PM
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And that's why I mentioned it. The litigation attorneys find it so lucrative they troll for 'victims' on television. She had an 'asbestos guy' in. It's back to the 'see no evil' thing I was talking about. It still throws a stigma on the house to have that 'funny looking' stuff on the ducts, and in tort law, they don't have to prove you have to prove yourself innocent. They could say you assumed it was, and still did not disclose it. That's pretty damning.

I really don't feel like splitting hairs, anyway. What I am getting at is that every time this house is up for sale there is a potential for a buyer to either back out because of suspected asbestos, or demand a test and then demand its removal. I'm just curious as to why a buyer, who hasn't closed on a house isn't doing just that.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 3:19PM
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"...they don't have to prove you have to prove yourself innocent."

Civil law works on preponderance of the evidence.

You must defend yourself, but they still have to prove a case.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 6:25PM
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Well if you remove it one time and get exposed to Asbestos, you will probably develop a bad cough in the coming weeks, but only long term occupational exposure can lead to the development of diseases like asbestosis or mesothelioma lung cancer.

Here is some information from mesothelioma and asbestos website:

The risks for asbestos exposure are not high for everyday people who are exposed to the air, water and the soil of the earth. It is occupational asbestos workers that come into contact with asbestos products on a daily basis that are at high risk of inhaling asbestos fibers. Starting from the 1940s (before World War II) and onwards, millions of American workers have been exposed to Asbestos on the job. These types of jobs include firefighters, automobile workers, drywall removers, demolition workers, insulation workers in the construction & building industry, as well as mining & shipbuilding workers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mesothelioma

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 1:15AM
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Don't use duct tape on it. It will peel right off in a few months. My previous owner did just that and it's a pain in the you know what.

There are companies that make "paints" that are specifically for asbestos encapsulation. TK Coatings makes something called Tuffide & Bindercoat and Childers/Foster makes CP11ViCryl.

People love to get really riled about this topic. But, in researching my house I did not run across one documented case of asbestos related illness in a homeowner. People in the heating, automotive, are at risk though.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 3:17PM
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I think that you have a greater chance of getting away without punishment in a criminal case, than you do a civl. In a criminal case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution, and in a civil case, the judgments are based on who has the most credible proof. That's why when an injured party does not see justice done in a criminal case, they often procede with a civil's easier to win.

An accused must defend themselves in a civil case, IOW default it if they don't defend themselves. There is nothing built into the law in the way of public defenders or laws to protect their rights, they just automatically are at fault unless they prove themselves innocent.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 6:42PM
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A criminal case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is the states burden to provide the proof.

Civil cases are decided by a preponderance of the evidence.
If you fail to defend yourself you WILL loose.

Civil cases may be "an easier win," but even after winning you then have to collect the judgment awarded.

There are many people who are 'lawsuit proof' since they have nothing that can be taken.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 8:41PM
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I'll just say this!!
Most of these people are being overly dramatic and alarmist!!
I could go into further detail as to why, but I'll probably/most likely be attacked so I'll just say this.
Talk to someone close to you whom you trust that may refer you to someone else for some better advice....
Good Luck....

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 2:40AM
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This is just a side note: It's not really "duct tape". This type of tape was developed during the Korean war for sealing ammo cans and was called "Duck Tape" because it kept water out. It was never intended or recomended for sealing ducts.
It is now made by numerous manufacturers and various levels of quality. Some may even be named "duct tape". So maybe it really is "duct tape"??

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 6:01PM
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I once sat next to the retired owner of an asbestos abatement company on a long flight. He was being real candid with me, and said that homeowners can easily do the abatement themselves; it's not rocket science, just follow common sense precautions (e.g. wet it first, place in double bags, dispose according to local rules). He said that the dangers of removal are overhyped. The gas lines coming into my house are wrapped with asbestos and it was peeling off. The gas technician sealed it with a plastic tape similar to electrical tape. He didn't wear a space suit while he was doing it.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:33AM
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Over the years since this thread was started, the health risks from long term exposure to asbestos have become ever more recognized. The dangers are cumulative and the effects may take decades to appear. By then, they're irreversible, leading to inevitable premature and painful death.

Even the simple enclosure methods we were once advised to use are considered moderate risk.

For instance:

Source: Safe Work Practices for Handling Asbestos (Workman's Compensation Board of B.C.)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 11:58AM
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"Over the years since this thread was started, the health risks from long term exposure to asbestos have become ever more recognized. "

Driven as much by the plaintiffs bar as anything else.

The entire ceiling of the original main terminal at Dulles International Airport is covered with sprayed on asbestos.
Closing the airport was NOT an alternative.

The entire ceiling was sprayed with an acrylic coating to bond down the asbestos, and when the terminal was enlarged (doubled in size actually) safer material was applied to the new work so everything matches.

The fight over 'single fiber exposure' has never been resolved.

Like many epidemiological studies, they question never answered is 'What portion of those exposed develop X?

The answer you DO hear given is "X% of victims did Y."

Is is hard to asses risk when the data is colored.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:38PM
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I had a friend who used liquid rubber to encapsulate his Asbestos roof, I think this was the stuff

Here is a link that might be useful: Asbestos Waterproofing

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Heck, for a 2-ft. piece of pipe insulation I would buy a glove bag (you can even get them on ebay) and take it out myself. But I'm a DIY'er so YMMV.

BTW, Duck Tape was called that because it had "cotton duck" fabric embedded in it.

There is another tape that is shiny aluminum with a very strong sticky adhesive that is used to seal the joints in ducts. I call this duct tape.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Be forewarned, TSI is some of the worst asbestos out there.

Tread lightly and be prepared for the impact of not properly containing or protecting your own health and the health of your home's occupants.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Asbestos exposure is nothing to be trifled with. Exposure to free airborne silica can be as harmful as exposure to asbestos. I wonder when it will be when everyone on a beach is wearing a Comfo-2 respirator? Now that will leave a strange tan mark.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Old thread, but speaking of resipirators, you can get a good quality rubber mask with replaceable cartridges for $25-$50. Get the P100 cartridges for particulates (like asbestos) and charcoal for organic vapors. Then you can wear it for painting, stripping or anything involving solvents. Handy to have around.

I'm surprised no one brought this up anywhere in this thread. If you're going to do it yourself, simply protect your lungs with a good respirator.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 6:10PM
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I would think wearing a rubber mask with cartridge would take away some of stripper's appeal.

Or is just me?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 6:03PM
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I remember my friend having a problem like this... He chose to encapsulate the asbestos, but he used this rubber coating that you'd usually use on roofs. It worked quite nicely actually! I think this is the website he got the stuff from here, I may be wrong

Here is a link that might be useful: Liquid Rubber

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 9:14AM
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