What is Asbestos

Anthophyllite Asbestos FibersAsbestos is the name for a group of highly fibrous minerals composed of magnesium silicate. Asbestos has long, separable, and thin fibers that are strong and flexible enough to be spun and woven. This unique mineral possess heat resistant properties, which made asbestos common in many products including flooring, ceiling tiles, automotive parts, insulation, building materials, pipes, plumbing components, and more than 5,000 other products from many industries. When these products are manufactured, damaged, or disturbed the asbestos fibers can be ingested or inhaled which can lead to deadly health issues such as Asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Prolonged or continued exposure to asbestos through exposure at work is the leading cause of mesothelioma.

There are two major types of asbestos, chrysotile and amphibole. The most common form of asbestos found is chrysotile asbestos, which is curly and from the serpentine family. The second variety of asbestos is amphibole, which are very straight and needle like and come in forms of amosite, tremolite, actinolite, anthrophylite, and crocidolite. Chystotile asbestos is more commonly used for industrial purposes while amphibole asbestos is used in products and is more dangerous to people as the fibers stay in the lungs longer.

Asbestos Exposure at Jobsites

The majority of asbestos–related illnesses are reported from people who were exposed to asbestos through their occupation and jobsites. The repeated and prolonged exposure to asbestos occurred through standard operations in a variety of industries and jobsites. Work environments and jobsites that exposed workers to dangerous levels of asbestos include, but are not limited to:Dangerous Asbestos Mine

  • Asbestos mines
  • Asbestos product manufacturing plants (flooring, roofing, building materials)
  • Automotive repair garages
  • Shipyards
  • Construction sites
  • Railroads
  • Demolition sites
  • Boiler Rooms
  • Power plants
  • Oil refineries
  • Steel Mills

Individuals who worked at these jobsites during the 1900's were probably exposed to multiple products containing asbestos and may now be at risk of developing mesothelioma, Asbestosis, lung cancer, or other deadly asbestos–related illnesses.

Asbestos in the Home

Homes built before 1970 may contain asbestos in old roof shingles, siding, insulation, floor tiles, insulation, or ceiling tiles. The presence of asbestos in your home is not hazardous and should not be an immediate concern, as long as the material is in good condition and will not be disturbed. The best thing a homeowner can do with asbestos material in good condition is leave it alone, until it becomes damaged or disturbed. If you believe part of your home may contain asbestos, check regularly for abrasions, damage, and tears. If the asbestos material in your home is damaged or is going to be altered due to remodeling, contact a licensed asbestos professional to see if the material needs to be repaired or removed.

Here are some simple tips to follow if you have asbestos in your home:

  • DO take every precaution to not damage asbestos material.
  • DO have repairs and removal of asbestos material done by trained, qualified, and licensed asbestos professionals.
  • DO keep activity to a minimum in areas that may have damaged asbestos materials.
  • DON’T scrape, saw, sand, or drill holes in materials that contain asbestos.
  • DON’T sweep, vacuum, or dust debris that may contain asbestos.
  • DON’T use power strippers with abrasive pads or brushes to strip wax from asbestos flooring.
  • DON’T try to level or sand asbestos flooring. When floors containing asbestos need replacing, install new flooring over it, if possible.
  • DON’T track material that could contain asbestos throughout the house.
  • DON’T hang anything, including pictures and artwork on walls covered with asbestos materials.