I took down the ceiling from an approximately 12x10 foot room to deal with some rodents in the insulation and it turns out that the (painted) popcorn texture on the ceiling contained/contains asbestos. Mistakes were made, etc. I already have the material (infested insulation, drywall, texture and all) in contractor bags and under a tarp out of the house. I guess I'll need someone who deals with hazardous materials to pick them up, but my actual question is:

What do I need to do about the rest of the house?

There was obviously a fair amount of dust involved tearing the ceiling down (though I guess that was mostly gypsum---I didn't scrape the ceiling, just took the drywall down in big slabs). Is the whole house potentially "contaminated" now? Is there a way for me to test the level of airborne asbestos (not to test the popcorn texture, but to measure the level of airborne contamination)? I imagine that there's some correct response between "clean up the area and forget about it" and "abandon the house."

Update: I got in touch with a remediation firm near me who suggested that the appropriate next step was a dust sampling (as opposed to air monitoring). The pricing is also much more reasonable than I was expecting, less than $50 per sample, if I bring them in myself. I'll update as my situation develops. The good news is so far the costs to assess the situation are not onerous.

  • You need to ask this question of a firm trained and licensed to carry out asbestos remediation, not strangers on the net...
    – DJohnM
    Apr 7, 2014 at 4:25
  • 1
    @User58220 Oh I will eventually, but some of these "strangers on the net" have decades of experience. Maybe by asking here I can be a little more prepared for that future conversation with a remediation firm.
    – user20878
    Apr 7, 2014 at 4:37

1 Answer 1


Professional air monitoring is the first step: expect a bill in the range of $500 (a technician stays on site for the entire hour or so test). A little compressor draws air into a sampling can, which is analyzed in a lab. They physically look for captured fibers and can find a single fiber in a sample.

Asbestos removal is surprisingly expensive, and must be done by a licensed firm (at least in the USA). In California USA I was quoted $750 in tipping fee alone for one square foot of asbestos paper, though a bigger firm can combine with other jobs. Everything is registered and tracked. As usual get multiple bids: you may have trouble finding a firm willing to clean up after someone else's mess. The full procedure involves huge quantities of plastic, creating a negative air pressure zone where the worek is done.

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