While the use of asbestos as a building material in homes and buildings has been banned for several decades, many structures that contain the fibrous mineral have remained. Although not harmful unless the fibers become airborne, asbestos has been known to cause a number of deadly lung diseases in those exposed to the dusty particles. Since asbestos poses a significant health threat, removal requires professional abatement.
The most critical component of asbestos abatement is building an airtight containment to prevent the dangerous particles from escaping into the outside air or other uncontaminated areas. Once they have put on the proper protective gear, abatement professionals section off the affected rooms or areas of the building by hanging poly-sheeting. In a typical 2-step containment building process, a masking tape is used around the door or window frame to protect the surface from damage, while a duct tape is used to secure the poly-sheeting to the backing of the masking tape. In situations where the building will be demolished after the asbestos is removed, the masking tape may be omitted since preventing damage or adhesive residue would not be needed. A second option is to use a double-sided abatement tape that has a gentle adhesive on the side that adheres to the wall to prevent damage and a stronger adhesive on the opposite side to hold tight to poly-sheeting.
Regardless of the method preferred, using the proper tape is crucial. When airborne, asbestos fibers are invisible – they cannot be seen, felt, smelled, or tasted. Consider the thickness of a human hair…asbestos particles can be as much as 18,000 times smaller! This means that even the smallest gaps in a containment system can be a threat to public safety.
To prevent containment failure, always use a tape that is built to withstand the conditions of your jobsite, considering temperature, humidity, and whether you will be applying it to a rough or dirty surface.
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