Asbestos has been described by many names including miraculous, divine, unquenchable, indestructible, and more. However, the modern era has a technical term for asbestos: carcinogen.
That is, asbestos, for all its impressive qualities, is a cancer-causing substance, a toxin to the human body. Because of this, it is important to consider some effective ways to remove asbestos from a home or place of business as safely as possible. Here’s what you need to know about HEPA vacuums and whether they can safely remove asbestos.
If you believe that you were exposed to asbestos, even as a child, speak to a healthcare provider about tests and screening to help diagnose lung-scarring and screen for asbestos-related diseases.
The history of asbestos and why you might need a HEPA vacuum
Asbestos was widely used in building, but causes significant health problems (including cancer).
During the history of the United States prior to 1989, asbestos was an industry-standard material for all kinds of construction and manufacturing applications. The reason for this is twofold.
First, asbestos is a naturally occurring group of silicate minerals that can be found around the world. That means that the cost for manufacturing companies to use asbestos was relatively cheap.
Second, asbestos in all its forms has an impressive list of durable qualities, such as:
- Heat and fire resistance
- Corrosion resistance
- Highly insulating
|Asbestos is highly resistant to heat, pressure and corrosion, so it was used in many products, vehicles and buildings. In particular, many workplaces like factories, refineries, foundries and shipyards involve high amounts of heat, and were built with a lot of asbestos.|
Translate the benefits of these qualities and the relatively low cost of manufacturing asbestos and we come up with the results seen in virtually every warehouse, shipyard, building, school, and home imaginable. At one time, asbestos was essentially as common as items today that contain plastic.
|Nearly every building constructed before the mid-1980s contained asbestos products and building materials.|
However, the ongoing development of research and company lawsuits led to a ban on many asbestos-containing products since 1989. This does not entirely mean that buildings must have all asbestos removed, but many places have taken the initiative to replace asbestos-containing materials with alternatives during renovation and remodeling efforts.
Is HEPA the Answer? Yes and No
That leads to the important question of HEPA Vacuums and the bigger question of whether asbestos can be ‘DIY’ removed in a safe way. First, we should distinguish air purifiers with HEPA filters and special HEPA vacuums.
What are HEPA air purifiers? (They’re not all the same.)
HEPA air purifiers are effective ways to clean up air from things like dust or allergens, but they do not work the same way for asbestos, at least not in a way that can entirely get rid of asbestos. Professional companies do use HEPA vacuums during asbestos abatement but we’ll talk about why that process is different momentarily.
Asbestos has no taste or smell.
You may not know you’re breathing it.
Asbestos fibers can be microscopic and impossible to see without an electron microscope.
The reason for this has everything to do with size. Asbestos fibers are microscopic, and that means that a traditional HEPA air filter simply cannot prevent asbestos fibers from passing through.
Even if a filter was able to trap asbestos fibers, the problem still remains in getting those fibers out of the environment before they are spread into other areas. In other words, simply trading out your HVAC system in your home with a HEPA-certified one will not protect you from sources of exposure that already exist.
Play it safe when dealing with harmful asbestos fibers.
Those who have read about the risk of spreading asbestos fibers decide to play things safe and keep the asbestos in an undisturbed condition. Sometimes this means sealing off an unused area, but other times the decision may be to paint over old asbestos or even to use a special sealant, such as in the case of asbestos tiles. In this process, the use of a HEPA vacuum may be required, but this is more of a temporary fix rather than a solution, at least on its own.
Several health studies have shown that the spouses of asbestos workers are at an elevated level of risk for asbestos illnesses like lung cancer.3 4 5 6
Asbestos and HEPA Vacuums: Look to Professionals
While HEPA vacuums are readily available today on the internet, the solution for fixing the issue is actually a combination of wet cleaning, HEPA vacuums, air testing, and ultimately, the removal of asbestos-containing materials. This entire process, called asbestos abatement and removal is a job that should be left to the professionals.
Reasons for hiring professionals when dealing with asbestos testing and removal:
- Asbestos exposure must be verified with testing, and testing requires close contact with exposure sites.
- Personal protection from asbestos requires the right gear, the right training, and the right methods.
- Licensed professionals provide you with legal protection in the event of liability or when selling a home or business location.
- Removing of asbestos must be done according to local and state laws.
- HEPA Vacuums can be used to keep exposure down, but they are only one piece of the cleaning and abatement puzzle.
Over $30 Billion is still available
(No lawsuit. No fees unless you receive money. No risk.)
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Take home points on asbestos and HEPA Vacuums
Ultimately, when we think about all of these points, it is clear that asbestos removal is a professional job, regardless of what kind of commercial or industrial-grade HEPA vacuum someone may have. Additionally, the risk taken to remove asbestos in a “DIY” project isn’t worth it. Rather than picking up an inexpensive HEPA online, reach out to a licensed company that can help you consider the abatement process in a risk-free way.
Asbestos claims aren’t just a day in the office for Justinian C. Lane.
They’re a mission.
In the past, workers exposed to asbestos were kept in the dark about the dangers of asbestos exposure. Among those workers were Justinian’s grandparents and his own father.
Unfortunately, they were also kept in the dark about the compensation options available to them, such as asbestos lawsuits and trust funds. In their later years, they died from asbestos-related cancers.
Because no one in Justinian’s family knew their options, they never received any compensation for the death of their loved ones.
Today, we’re working to turn the tide.
Significant compensation may be available to you if you have contracted an asbestos-related illness or injury. This includes workers as well as family members who have been exposed.
Compensation is your key to receiving the medical treatment you need, funding asbestos removal services, and maintaining your physical well-being.
Want to know one of the quickest and easiest ways to receive compensation? Let us talk to you about asbestos trust claims. This option can often avoid lawsuits altogether.
We want to hear your story, and more importantly, we want to bring redemption to it.
Would you rather talk over the phone? Simply call or text us, at (206) 455-9190.
You won’t pay a penny to us unless you receive money first, so there’s no risk.
In addition to legal claims, veterans disability, social security and employment protection like workers compensation, FELA and The Jones Act for maritime workers, there are asbestos trusts that have been set up to compensate those harmed by asbestos without having to file a lawsuit.
The dangers of asbestos used to be an industry-guarded secret kept from suffering people like Justinian’s family. Not anymore. We’re bringing you the truth.
We’ve created numerous resources to help answer your questions and empower you with the information you need to know and act on.
Are you a visual learner? No problem!
Our YouTube page has infographics, an asbestos history series, and other helpful resources for you to check out!
|Not sure where or when you were exposed to asbestos? |
Let W.A.R.D. help you!
The Worldwide Asbestos Research Database (W.A.R.D) is the largest asbestos information database, period. If you need answers related to specific locations, products, or what type of compensation may be available to you due to asbestos exposure, W.A.R.D. is the place to start.
Working with us is risk-free. Unless you receive compensation money, there are NO FEES! Speak to us about asbestos litigation today.
1 National Cancer Institute (NIH), Asbestos Fact Sheet.
2 National Cancer Institute (NIH), Asbestos Fact Sheet.
3 Ferrante, D., Bertolotti, M., Todesco, A., Mirabelli, D., Terracini, B. and Magnani, C., 2007. Cancer mortality and incidence of mesothelioma in a cohort of wives of asbestos workers in Casale Monferrato, Italy. Environmental Health Perspectives, 115(10), pp.1401-1405.
4 Miller, A., 2005. Mesothelioma in household members of asbestos‐exposed workers: 32 United States cases since 1990. American journal of industrial medicine, 47(5), pp.458-462.
5 Reid, A., Heyworth, J., De Klerk, N. and Musk, A.W., 2008. The mortality of women exposed environmentally and domestically to blue asbestos at Wittenoom, Western Australia. Occupational and environmental medicine, 65(11), pp.743-749.
6 İşten, B.H.S.T.O. and Maruziyetler, E.T., 2021. Exposures Moved from Work to Home as a Public Health Hazard.