Materials that contain asbestos can be encapsulated, instead of removed, as long as they will not be disturbed. For example, pipe insulation can be covered with a heavy fabric and specialized coating, as long as that insulation will not be cut into. If a plumber needs to access the pipe, the area of asbestos that is encapsulated must be abated. The most common materials encapsulated are duct tape and pipe insulation.
Because encapsulation is cheaper than removal, it’s frequently used to allow for safe duct cleaning when asbestos tape is present.
You should have your asbestos containing materials encapsulated by an asbestos abatement company if it contains asbestos, and if it will not be disturbed. If disturbed, the asbestos could enter your lungs, and cause diseases such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Encapsulation can be done in different ways depending on the type of material, the location of the material, and the ability of workers to safely access the material. In general, during pipe insulation and duct tape encapsulation, the abatement contractor seals off the work area with plastic sheeting held in place with heavy tape and staples, and ventilates the work area with specialized air handlers. The abatement workers enter the work area with respiratory protection and protective clothing. They wrap the material tightly with a heavy fabric and a specialized coating. They sample the air at a variety of places including inside and outside the work area, and send those to a lab for testing.
After the job is complete, you will need to make sure that no one disturbs the encapsulated material.