Many homes built before 1990 contain Zonolite insulation and are likely to be contaminated with asbestos. Zonolite is a brand of attic insulation made from contaminated vermiculite. Vermiculite is silver to brown in color and is shaped in small chunks, making it fairly easy to identify. Asbestos is not visible to the naked eye and samples must be sent for testing to determine contamination. Removing Zonolite is considered to be dangerous and potentially health-hazardous, so extreme caution and consideration is urged when attempting removal.
According to the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center, contaminated Zonolite is non-toxic if it is left alone and not disturbed by remodeling or electrical wiring projects. Asbestos is extremely harmful if disturbed and can cause considerable damage even when using extreme caution. If you receive test results indicating that asbestos is present in your insulation and decide to attempt removal yourself, some major considerations should be taken into account. First, you will want to check state and federal regulations on the asbestos abatement and disposal process. You must also obtain permits from state regulators before beginning the removal project. Permits relinquish your legal rights in the instance of harm or damage. Once permits are obtained, special asbestos removal equipment must be purchased in addition to protective gear and apparel. Zonolite insulation must be kept wet at all times during removal to prevent the asbestos from becoming airborne. Once the Zonolite is removed, it should be contained in air-tight storage bins and delivered to an asbestos-specialized landfill. Protective gear and clothing should be disposed of similarly, making sure to remove respirator equipment after all other contaminated items have been safely concealed. The attic area should then be rinsed thoroughly to remove any potentially remaining contamination, and a final testing will need to be performed to ensure that all asbestos has been removed from the area.
You will need to contact a professional asbestos removal contractor to perform testing that will indicate if asbestos is present in your Zonolite insulation. Once this has been determined, it is strongly recommended to use a professional contractor to conduct the abatement process. Contractors will have all the necessary licensing and equipment as well as the experience of handling a potentially lethal substance. Hiring a contractor can also help avoid costly and dangerous pitfalls that may occur with an inexperienced or ill-equipped novice. If you attempt to remove Zonolite without professional assistance, you may end up paying more than the cost of an initial removal in order to clean up hazardous material that has been spread throughout the home.
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