Nearly every building constructed before the mid-1980s contained asbestos products and materials.

Many old buildings have asbestos insulation on plumbing or other places that should likely be removed.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that was once used extensively in various construction projects, and able to withstand the corrosive effects of a wide range of chemicals, it was the material of choice for insulating pipes.

Yet, as the world became more aware of the significant health risks hiding in its shadows, a fundamental shift occurred, and asbestos was largely banned. The need to protect public health heralded a new age of strict laws and encapsulating it underground under the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) category was deemed as a safer option for removal in an ever-changing environmental context. 

Today, more than 10.59 million lb. of friable asbestos is disposed of under TRI every year[1]. Most recently, the EPA banned some of the outstanding asbestos uses, but a lot of legacy asbestos is still out there in old buildings, so it’s worthwhile to understand the risks and what to do about them. 

In this article, we will discuss the costs involved in wrapping asbestos pipes to ensure safe storage and disposal of the toxic mineral. We will also take a closer look at the importance of hiring professionals for this rather than attempting to do it alone.

To properly comprehend the core of asbestos encapsulation, one must consider the reality of asbestos-related health concerns[2]. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos-related illnesses take a toll on more than 12,000 to 15,000 people every year in the U.S.

This number alone shows that asbestos exposure is a leading environmental health issues in the United States. However, the global significance of this issue stretches well beyond national boundaries. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that asbestos-related illnesses kill over 90,000 people annually, directly or indirectly[3].

These numbers draw attention to the unavoidable need for appropriate asbestos control measures. At the forefront of this is encapsulation, a technology recognized by the EPA that can potentially prevent release of contaminants.

Importance of Asbestos Encapsulation

Asbestos encapsulation aims to confine and seal asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) to stop fibers from dispersing into the air. This method can be a safe and affordable approach to controlling friable fibers, making it particularly pertinent for dealing with pipeline insulation.

Variety of Products & Encapsulation Options

A wide range of encapsulation choices and solutions are available to adequately encapsulate asbestos materials and reduce health hazards. These include:

·   Specialized sealants

·   Coatings

·   Encasing wraps

Over asbestos surfaces, sealants build a strong barrier. These are often liquid formulations designed specifically for asbestos handling. The coatings may take on many different forms (like paints). They bond to asbestos-containing surfaces to create an impenetrable barrier.

To ensure containment, coverings are made to enclose asbestos tightly. The product choice is influenced by variables such as the condition of the mineral, project size, and environmental concerns. Each product must be evaluated thoroughly for effectiveness, durability, compliance, and professional guidance.

Understanding the variety of encapsulation alternatives leads to educated decision-making, and hence, better management of asbestos dangers. Having said that, precise suggestions are best received from specialists. This ensures:

·   Effectiveness: The main goal of encapsulation is to adequately contain asbestos to stop the discharge of fibers. The chosen item must have a track record of successfully doing this.

·   Durability: Encapsulation needs to offer long-lasting defense. The product must survive the elements, temperature swings, and possible physical damage.

·   Compliance: Verifying that the chosen product conforms to applicable local, state, and federal asbestos management standards is a must.

·        Professional Guidance: Even though certain encapsulation work may be completed independently, obtaining expert guidance and assistance is frequently recommended. Professionals have the training and expertise necessary to accurately access the situation and suggest the best encapsulation techniques and solutions.

Why Was Asbestos Commonly Used on Pipes?

Due to its exceptional properties, asbestos became a popular choice for insulating pipes and other equipment. It provided effective thermal insulation, preventing heat loss from pipes.

Furthermore, asbestos is highly resistant to corrosion and does not conduct electricity, making it ideal for industrial applications. Its resistance to chemicals made it an attractive choice for protecting pipes in various environments.

Wrapping as a Technique for Abatement

Encapsulation provides an alternative to the total removal of asbestos-containing products, one of its significant benefits. Complete removal may be a time-consuming, expensive procedure that could cause major damage to a structure. Conversely, encapsulation enables asbestos to be contained in place, negating the need for major renovations.

When to opt for removal versus encapsulation depends on several variables, including the state of the asbestos materials, their accessibility, and the possible dangers of removal. Encapsulation is sometimes a safer and more sensible option.

Hiring professionals

Although encasing asbestos pipes may appear to be a simple procedure, it is important to note the need to employ experts for asbestos-related work. Significant health concerns from asbestos exposure include asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer, to name a few.

Without the required knowledge, attempting encapsulation might result in unintentional exposure to fibers, putting people in danger. Furthermore, there are strict rules governing the handling of asbestos, and breaking them might result in serious financial loss.

The expertise and training brought to the table by certified asbestos specialists will guarantee that encapsulation is carried out safely and remains in line with legal regulations.

The Cost Factor

The cost of encapsulation can vary significantly based on a number of variables, such as the degree of asbestos contamination, the scope and difficulty of the job, and the encapsulating substance used. Generally, removing asbestos may cost anywhere from $450 to $6,000.

It is important to note that the cost of encapsulation itself is often less than that of total removal. Labor, disposal, and reconstruction costs during removal are frequently high. On the other hand, encapsulation emphasizes confinement and sealing, which is less time-consuming and less costly.

However, it is important to stress that cost should not be the only consideration when choosing between encapsulation and removal. Health and safety should always be the first priority. Exposure to asbestos carries potential dangers that significantly surpass any cost considerations[4].


Minimizing asbestos risks while preserving health and the environment requires considering the cost of encapsulating asbestos pipes. Under the condition that it is carried out by qualified professionals using efficient products that adhere to legal requirements, asbestos encapsulation presents a practical alternative to removal.

Protecting human health from the serious hazards connected with asbestos exposure should always take precedence over financial concerns. Encapsulating asbestos is an investment in the welfare of people and communities, not just a financial one.




[4] Lourens, E., 2022. Asbestos abatement regulations, 2020 promulgated under the occupational health and safety act No. 85 of 1993 (as amended). Occupational Health Southern Africa, 28(4), pp.161-162.