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What is a "HEPA" vacuum and should we have one for cleanup?

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QuestionAs I was shopping for a new vacuum cleaner recently, I encountered the term "HEPA." What does "HEPA" stand for?

AnswerHEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter and refers to a material rated to trap 99.97 percent of airborne particles 0.3 microns and larger. Ultra-Low Penetration Air (ULPA) filters trap even more: 99.99 percent of particles 0.12 microns and larger.

If you get involved in an asbestos abatement project, you will want to clean up using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Unlike most minerals which turn into dust particles when crushed, asbestos breaks up into fibers too small to be seen by the naked eye. It takes an extremely powerful microscope to see the fibers, so fine that an average human hair is approximately 1200 times thicker than an asbestos fiber. If these light hard-to-see fibers are released from an asbestos containing material (ACM), e.g., during asbestos removal, they will remain in the air for hours, posing a health hazard to all who breathe them in.

I've been in the construction field for over 25 years and wish I'd known then what I know now about asbestos. I would not have tackled a lot of projects because of the asbestos content of certain building products.

To get the whole picture, I recommend that you purchase my informative article, Asbestos In Popcorn Ceilings, Purchase this article to learn about asbestos in popcorn ceiling and how to patch them!which describes how to determine if asbestos is present and the steps a professional takes to decide if removal is the correct course of action. These same steps apply to homeowners facing the same decisions.

Included are links to government and state agencies where you can get more information on the subject, locate state-certified professional asbestos contractors for removal, and find other documents that address removing the asbestos yourself.

As an added bonus, Patching a Popcorn Ceiling has been added to Asbestos In Popcorn Ceilings to help those who need to make repairs to their ceilings. The process is about the same whether the ceiling contains asbestos or not; however, for your own peace of mind, you still need to determine if your ceiling contains asbestos, and the article describes procedures to follow to safely take a sample for testing.

Click to Purchase Don't forget—before starting this project get your informative 10-page PDF article titled Asbestos In Popcorn Ceilings and Patching a Popcorn Ceiling. To order your downloadable .pdf printable copy, click here or click the purchase button to the left!

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Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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