On average asbestos stays in the air for 12 – 24 hours after being disturbed. During demolition of materials that contain asbestos, particles get airborne with dust and can seriously harm people when inhaled.
This however applies to certain types of operations, when demolition of contaminated material creates high level of dust. Materials like vinyl tiles may not create any potential danger and air contamination at all.
Designated substance survey should provide not only lab test with amount of asbestos present, but also suggest methods of remediation with associated dangers.
Time of Asbestos in the Air:
- Outside / Exterior
- Ventilated Facility
- Unventilated Room
During the time that asbestos particles fly in the air, only trained remediation personnel with personal protective equipment can be present. All other staff and visitors have to leave and be reminded of danger that asbestos poses to health.
Warning signs and health risks can be posted for educating all workers. Additional training and safety talks won’t hurt personnel as well. Especially when building premises have materials contaminated with asbestos.
|Outside/Exterior||Ventilated Facility||Unventilated Room|
|1 – 3 Hours||12 – 24 Hours||24 – 48 Hours|
Outside / Exterior – occurs when full structure is demolished with large equipment or some exterior parts of building are removed.
Roof tiles, siding and even insulation can have asbestos in it. Dust particles can fly away and potentially hurt neighbours that are nearby if not controlled by sealing premises or simple water down.
Ventilated Facility – with renovation of large office buildings or warehouse facilities area of work is quite large and often easily ventilated.
After work is completed all ducts have to be properly cleaned and washed out from dust and asbestos particles that may have been caught inside.
Unventilated Room – old homes that were constructed at least 50 – 100 years ago have poor or no ventilation. HVAC ducts were not used back in those days and only source of air was a window.
Remediation in these types of projects is pacifically dangerous due to high amount of asbestos in small confined space. Every year new regulation and measures are introduced by local regulators.
How Long Does Asbestos Stain in the Air with Dust?
Asbestos is not a material, but mineral that was added into compound for more strength and insulation purpose.
In other words if material that contains asbestos makes large amount of dust when cut or demolished than asbestos will occur in air for longer time. Materials that don’t create dust whatsoever are much less dangerous.
Insulation fibers are very light and can keep on flying for much longer with asbestos particles in it.
Cement and plaster compounds are heavy but break into tiny pieces that create dust. For shorter period of time, dust with asbestos can completely fill the air in small spaces.
Vinyl and metal are very heavy when cut or broken into pieces. They emit less asbestos in the air and it falls on the ground within minutes.
Speed up Ari Purification
Now we understand how asbestos particles fly in the air for certain time. At that point premises should not be visited by workers or any other people without personal protective equipment that is used specifically for asbestos and designated substances.
Through experiments and number of tests, construction industry came up with several methods to deal with this specific problem.
To continue on with ongoing construction process there are few recommended techniques to shorten time for how long does asbestos stay in the air.
Methods of Purifying Air from Asbestos
- Water Down
- Ventilate Rooms
- Depressurize and Clean
- Leave it Alone
Depending on situation, amount of asbestos present and type of demolition, certain ways can be implemented by workers. We want to again underline and point out that dealing with asbestos contaminated material is dangerous and only trained professionals should take on such jobs.
Water Down – when demolishing a house with excavator, contaminated material should be remediated prior or left as is. It depends on designated substance survey and lab results.
With fewer amounts of asbestos or less dangerous materials the recommendation for dealing with such issue can be to water it down.
During demolition with excavator, dust particles get airborne and can potentially harm neighbours. Simple hose with water can help keeping it down and stay in the pile of debris.
Ventilate – closed areas without airflow have asbestos particle fly around for long time. How long does asbestos stay in the air depends on initial contamination.
Ventilating these rooms can make everything go faster. This method works for areas where no one lives or works. Otherwise air flow can drag designated substance towards people. The best structure for this method is far away from other homes or populated areas.
Opening doors and windows can work just fine, and within a day the room should be good to enter. Ventilators and fans can work as well.
Depressurize and Clean – this technique is used by asbestos remediation company all around the world. It often happens that only specific room contains materials with asbestos while others are not touch at all.
For safety of occupants and speeding up how long asbestos stay in the air, the room is air sealed. Plastic barrier is placed one door, windows and all areas. Even ducts, lights and electrical outlets are sealed with tape.
Later negative pressure is created in the room. This makes air stay inside room. Special vacuums and cleaning devices are used to remediate asbestos.
Leave it Alone – the best and safest by far practice with asbestos is to let it be until all particles settle down.
We all know how dangerous is asbestos and that 100 000 people die every year from decease caused by this substance.
Readying this article does not make you professional and without proper training you should not get close to asbestos remediation area.
Type of Demolition Process
The last factor we want to bring to attention is how material with asbestos disturbed. Demolition with tools and careful removal by hand would make different level of dust behind; therefore asbestos will stay in the air for different amount of time.
Breaking by Hand – careful removal of tiles can minimize air contamination and if done properly can leave the room safe within hours.
Demolishing with Heavy Equipment – normally happens outside, where ventilation is natural. Excavators break large materials and dust is watered down to keep in one pile.
Cutting with Saw – is the most dangerous type of remediation. It disburses dust and flying particles of asbestos in small rooms. It becomes hard to control and negative pressure is used to keep everything inside the room.