Asbestos is generic commercial name for a naturally occurring group of six different mineral fibers, (amosite - which usually has brown fibers, chrysotile - white asbestos, crocidolite - blue asbestos, and the fibrous varieties of tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite - usually has grey fibers), that exists in the environment. Asbestos minerals have separable long fibers that are strong and flexible enough to be spun and woven, (just like thin threads) and are heat resistant. In addition, these fibers are not affected by chemicals and do not conduct electricity. Because of these characteristics, asbestos has been commonly used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant.
Pipe insulation, Boiler insulation, Boiler and pipe gaskets, Duct insulation, Vibration collars, Fire Proofing on building steel or concrete, Fire doors, Old floor tiles, Old linoleum, Floor covering glue and mastic, All types of roofing material, Water -proofing, Siding shingle, Siding panels, Transit pipe, Window and door caulk, Window glazing, Textured paints, Arch shield in light fixtures and other electrical components
The mere presence of asbestos in a building may not be hazardous. The danger is that asbestos materials may become damaged over time. Damaged asbestos releases asbestos fibers and become a health hazard.
Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
- Buildings built between 1920 and 1960 may have asbestos as insulation.
- Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
- Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
- Older products such as window and door caulking may have some asbestos compounds.
- Walls and floors around wood burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets.
- Asbestos is found in vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
- Hot water and steam pipes may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
- Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.
- HVAC Equipment like cooling towers often have asbestos cement products.
If the asbestos material is damaged, or if you are going to make changes in your building that might disturb the asbestos, removal or repair by a professional is needed. Repair usually means either covering or sealing the asbestos material. Covering involves placing a protective wrap over or around the material that contains the asbestos to prevent the release of fibers. Sealing involves treating the material with a sealant that either binds the asbestos fibers together or coats the material so fibers are not released. Repair is usually cheaper than removal, but may make it more difficult to remove later if the need arises.
EPA recommends that when dealing with materials containing asbestos, whether it is to test, repair, or remove, you hire an asbestos professional to do the work for you. Improper handling of asbestos material can create more of a hazard than if it is left undisturbed. If you need to take corrective measures, you should use a different contractor than the one who tested for asbestos in order to avoid a conflict of interest. Additionally, your local or state government may require professional licensed handling of asbestos. Ask to see our licensing and credentials.
If you have a problem that requires the services of asbestos removal professionals, check their credentials carefully. Hire professionals who are trained, experienced, reputable, and accredited - especially if accreditation is required by state or local laws. Before hiring a professional, ask for references from previous clients. Find out if they were satisfied. Ask whether the professional has handled similar situations. Get cost estimates from several professionals, as the charges for these services can vary.