Asbestos used to be a very popular insulating and fire proofing material which was used in the 1940s through to the 1980s. Unfortunately, it's proven to be very bad for human health. If the material crumbles, fibres are released into the air and if they are breathed in, they cause all sorts of horrible problems such as lung cancer. While asbestos can be dangerous in its airborne state, it's actually not bad at all when it's sealed like it should be. But, it's still like having a caged Tiger, and removing it is the best way to ensure the long term health and safety of your family or work colleagues.
The safest way to remove asbestos isn't to do it yourself - it's to call someone who knows what they are doing. The professionals know the stuff well and have the equipment to deal with it. While there's of course the initial cost, peace of mind as well as not having to risk your own health makes getting the pros in a smart choice.
But, if you want to remove it yourself, here are some guidelines to remove asbestos safely.
First, make sure that you clear the work site of everything, including furniture, people, pets and anything else that could get in the way. Make sure no one needs access to the site for the duration of the job, and put up warning signs everywhere to ensure people get the message to stay away. Put plastic sheeting over everything that you're not working on. Use industrial tape to fix it in place. You must be completely attentive to detail here - get it done right and don't leave gaps. Close all the windows and seal them, and turn off any venting or air control systems. Seal their outlets. Wetting the area will help to control dust and reduces the ability of asbestos to turn into the lethal fibres. Add a little detergent to help control the dust further.
When working on the asbestos you must wear a full disposable set of overalls which include a hood and gloves. Use a full face respiratory mask with a dust respirator. You will need to make a safe resting area away from the working place for meals and breaks - remove your protective clothing and wash your face and hands well before entering the area. Men - shave yourself!
When removing the asbestos, don't use power tools, use hand tools. This is because these can release the fibres. In the same way, don't even think of using sanding equipment. Bag the material using specially designed plastic bags for controlling asbestos waste and don't let it build up in piles. Clearly mark the bags, and use them to dispose of all protective gear for both yourself and your work site. Vent the area well when done and wipe it down with a damp cloth.
While it is possible to remove asbestos yourself, you have to be fanatical about safety. If you aren't able to do that, then get the professionals in. Asbestos Removal Toronto experts do this sort of stuff for a living, and they know what they're doing. If safely is important to you - don't do it yourself. You don't want to mess around with asbestos.