The five essential principles of adequate dust control are:
Enclosiing a structure or "wrapping" it to provide an air-tight envelope is an effective way to keep toxic dust from leaving the site while materials containing asbestos, lead or other toxic materials are removed.
Ventilation must be used to maintain a negative air pressure inside the enclosure and HEPA filters must be used to remove materials from the exhaust air. Below is an example of a "wrapped" building.
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"When asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed by repair, remodeling or demolition activities, microscopic fibers become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause significant health problems.
Before starting a project that disturbs asbestos, contractors should be aware that disturbed asbestos is very hazardous to building site workers and visitors. Safe removal of asbestos usually requires respirators, liquid wetting agents, a negative air pressure enclosure and special training to prevent worker and building occupant exposure to the microscopic fibers." -- From the National Demolition Association website.
Proper use of specialized equipment by well-trained personnel is the only way that wetting materials can be effective. Below are examples of using this technique. (Click to learn more.)
Even with proper equipment, fine-mist spraying is not always effective in windy conditions or when there's a very large amount of dust.
Just using a stream from a firehose is not always an effective method of controlling dust. (The image below is from the Staton Companies website.) According to the Occupational and Safety Administration, with plain water surface wetting, "dust control efficiency is low, unless large quantities of water are used." If enough water is used to sufficiently wet the surfaces, it can create runoff problems and complicate disposal of the material. A stream of water, such as in this photo is ineffective at removing airborne dust.
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Site last updated: October 2, 2012