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Old 07-18-2011, 12:23 AM   #1
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


I got my popcorn ceiling tested, results came back it was 2-3% asbestos. How dangerous is this, it seems like a really small amount. Was originally planning on taking it down using the spray n scrape method. But now that it's confirmed to have asbestos should i just leave it alone?

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Old 07-18-2011, 07:04 AM   #2
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


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I got my popcorn ceiling tested, results came back it was 2-3% asbestos. How dangerous is this, it seems like a really small amount. Was originally planning on taking it down using the spray n scrape method. But now that it's confirmed to have asbestos should i just leave it alone?
If you wet it down, it will not become airborne, so it shouldn't be an issue.
I would close off the room in any case and wear a dust mask. You can also get those painting coveralls to keep any residue off your clothes and in the room.
Use a damp cloth to wipe things down after you're finished.
Check to see with the locals if disposal has any restrictions.

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Old 07-18-2011, 07:24 AM   #3
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


Anything over 1% is considered asbestos containing material (ACM). Better consider how you'll dispose of the debris, since it is considered hazardous waste. Popcorn ceilings are notoriously friable. It's pretty easy to get junk airborne during removal of one of these. Anything that gets airborne, will stay that way for a long time without some engineering controls in place, proper exhaust, clean up methods, waste handling, entering/leaving the work area, terminal cleaning, final tear down of the containment, etc. You didn't post your location, but most places, transporting and improperly packaging hazardous waste carries some hefty penalties.

Last edited by Maintenance 6; 07-18-2011 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 07-18-2011, 12:20 PM   #4
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


If you keep it damp (so it can't become air-born) until it's all been bagged I wouldn't worry about it. As an added precaution it would be a good idea to isolate the room your working on and wear a mask, like Ron said.

Asbestos related health problems have only been linked to chronic, high-level exposure to air-born particles, so technically there's no evidence that short-term exposure to low levels of air-born asbestos is even dangerous (but I'd avoid it as a precautionary measure).

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Better consider how you'll dispose of the debris, since it is considered hazardous waste.
This isn't true everywhere - I was told to just double bag it and put it out with the regular garbage (it didn't need to be marked or anything). In fact, I was told the hazardous waste facility would refuse to accept it.

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Old 07-18-2011, 04:22 PM   #5
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


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If you keep it damp (so it can't become air-born) until it's all been bagged I wouldn't worry about it. As an added precaution it would be a good idea to isolate the room your working on and wear a mask, like Ron said.

Asbestos related health problems have only been linked to chronic, high-level exposure to air-born particles, so technically there's no evidence that short-term exposure to low levels of air-born asbestos is even dangerous (but I'd avoid it as a precautionary measure).

This isn't true everywhere - I was told to just double bag it and put it out with the regular garbage (it didn't need to be marked or anything). In fact, I was told the hazardous waste facility would refuse to accept it.
If you read my post you'll notice that I mentioned that I don't know the OP's location. Don't try that in Pennsylvania. In fact since it is ACM (1% or greater), I wouldn't try that anywhere in the U.S. Big, nasty, ugly fines. I've even read of some people facing criminal charges for knowingly disposing of ACM in an improper manner. The U.S. EPA doesn't take this lightly. I don't necessarily agree with the statement about no evidence of low level exposure being dangerous. Once you've contaminated the inside of your house with a light material that can be re-entrained in the airstream over and over, how would you decide if it's a low level exposure? To the OP, if you decide to try this, forget the dust mask. You need an N95 half face respirator with P100 cartidges........... minimum.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:18 PM   #6
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


Here's what I would do... Seal off the room, grab a true HEPA air cleaner to circulate the air inside the room, buy an asbestos/lead rated respirator, spray the ceiling with some water, remove the ceiling with the drywall in 2x2 sections, place the sections into heavy duty garbage bags (they make special contractors grade ones for this), clean everything with wet rags, vacuum (preferably with a HEPA vacuum), and finally dispose of the old ceiling at an appropriate facility. You can call your garbage company; in some cases you can just double bag it, and dump it.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:26 PM   #7
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


We do understand that different municipalities have different rules. In my area if the homeowner removes asbestos containing materials from his/her own home, double bags this, and sets it out as household garbage, then the garbage truck will pick it up and take it to the landfill. Or if the homeowner wishes to do so, they may take it to the landfill where it would be place into the "inert garbage" cell. Go figure.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:01 PM   #8
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


How come no one here giving advice has mentioned sealing off all air supply vents and air return vents if they exist? That would be the biggest issue when it comes to contaminating the entire property.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:08 PM   #9
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


I am sure MANY will disagree but I think you get a lot more then 2-3% from all the vehicles that still use asbestos in brake parts and clutches. Yes, you can still buy friction material that contains asbestos
As long as you leave it undisturbed, there is little danger in your case.
Years ago I owned a home that had asbestos shingle siding. I wanted to brick the exterior so I contacted the appropriate agency to request information.
They told me to brick over the siding and to do it with as little disturbance as possible.
I, being a mechanic, asked him why asbestos had not been eliminated in the auto industry---He had NO ANSWER
I am not saying that asbestos is not dangerous--IT IS---but you could contact the EPA, as I did, and get an educated opinion.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:45 PM   #10
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


I think a person swallows more harmful things daily than what this exposure would be. Not that asbestos can't be dangerous. Drive down a dusty road or eat some smoked Bar-B-Q, or inhale some cleaning chemicals.
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:22 PM   #11
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


2-3% just tells you the level of protection you should need , Like alot of the previous posters you should just wet everything down and try to keep the dust to a minimum. Where I live less than 5% ACM is considered construction waste, no special landfill or transportation concerns.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:36 AM   #12
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


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2-3% just tells you the level of protection you should need , Like alot of the previous posters you should just wet everything down and try to keep the dust to a minimum. Where I live less than 5% ACM is considered construction waste, no special landfill or transportation concerns.
And in the US, that would be in direct conflict with the EPA limit of 1% or greater. In a court case, the Feds would win. The level of protection is determined by the potential for airborne dstribution, not the actual asbestos content. 1% ACM, but very friable versus 100% ACM, non friable for example. A popcorn ceiling is considered friable, just under certain types of insulation, while cast asbestos siding is not. Flooring materials fall in between, depending on condition. The EPA does not regulate non friable materials, because they do not constitue an airborne hazard. They can, however regulate the disposal of non-friable materials, which may break down over time to become an environmental hazard. Most states follow EPA guidance. The last US asbestos mine only closed in 2002 and in the last decade the US consumed well over 55,000 tons of asbestos and that does not include asbestos in finished products that are imported from off shore sources. So yeah, the big A still here and doing well. One certainly is not going to inhale as many fibers standing on a street corner as you will removing a popcorn ceiling without any engineering controls. And you will stop inhaling them when you get off the street. A bad asbestos job will have countable fibers floating in the air for months or even years.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:46 PM   #13
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


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I got my popcorn ceiling tested, results came back it was 2-3% asbestos. How dangerous is this, it seems like a really small amount. Was originally planning on taking it down using the spray n scrape method. But now that it's confirmed to have asbestos should i just leave it alone?
Should be replaced if it makes you feel better.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:53 AM   #14
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


HOW COME NOONE HERE HAS SUGGESTED THIS.... HIRE A PROFESSIONAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL COMPANY. YES, IT COSTS MORE MONEY. BUT I KNOW PEOPLE STILL CARE MORE ABOUT HOW THERE CAR RUNS THEN IF THEY CAN POSSIBLY GET CANCER!!!! btw, i remove lots of popcorn as my occupation. I DO NOT TOUCH ASBESTOS CEILINGS. I hire out for it. common sense.
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Old 08-07-2011, 12:24 PM   #15
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2-3% asbestos - how dangerous?


Asbestos removal became a political issue, so the danger became overblown just like lead danger.
If it is so dangerous, why do they exempt churches from most of the rules? According to the EPA, church members may remove asbestos containing flooring from their church, as long as they are not charging for it. And homeowners can remove it from their own homes. At least that is what a rep from the EPA explained to us.

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