What is Asbestos?
exposure to asbestos can cause lung disease
Asbestos refers to six types of naturally occurring minerals that were mined in Canada and the US until recently. Asbestos minerals are made up of fine, durable fibers and are resistant to heat, fire and many chemicals.
Buildings and Homes built before the 1990’s may contain asbestos! This includes hotels, schools, hospitals and healthcare facilities, apartment buildings, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and houses.
Asbestos was used in hundreds of everyday products such as building materials, toys, plastics, furniture, appliance wiring, crayons, potting soil, vehicle parts, and textiles used in fireproof protective gear. It can be found in over 3,000 Construction and Industrial products.
Asbestos is a Hazardous Material! It is the #1 workplace killer, known as the “hidden killer.” Its fibers are extremely fine and can remain in the air for hours. When airborne fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they can become lodged in the soft tissues of the lungs or abdomen.
Asbestos exposure may cause serious chronic health problems, and even death, such as:
- Asbestosis: a chronic lung disease resulting from prolonged exposure to Asbestos dust.
- Lung Cancer: caused by asbestos fibers in the lung.
- Mesothelioma: a fatal cancer that affects the lining of the lungs.
All forms of asbestos are odorless, tasteless and cannot be detected by the naked eye – samples have to be tested in a laboratory. If testing confirms the presence of asbestos, proper abatement procedures should be followed.
In a pre 1990’s building or house, some of the materials that may contain asbestos include:
- Walls and Ceilings: drywall mud, textured coatings (stipple/popcorn), ceiling tiles
- Flooring: vinyl sheet and mastic, vinyl tile, poured flooring/leveling compound, asphalt flooring
- Interior Insulation: spray insulation, vermiculite (blown-in insulation for attics), paper backing (fiberglass insulation), on electrical wiring
- Heating and Ducting: furnace duct tape and insulation, pipe insulation, hot water tank insulation, mastic, rope and gaskets, cement board, and cardboard insulation
- Exterior: cement pipes, drain pipes, roof felting, asphalt roof shingles, soffit boards, stucco, cement siding, brick mortar, window putty, cement shingles
- Other: caulking, fireplace box, mantel, artificial logs and ashes, fire doors, fire blankets, chalk boards, heat reflectors, penetration firestopping, candescent light fixture backing (pot lights), outlets and switches, bell and spigot joint packing, electrical wire conduit, sealants and adhesives, and latex paints.
Please note, it is important to avoid remodeling or demolition projects until a Hazardous Report confirms the absence of asbestos. Exposure to asbestos is not only dangerous for workers in the industry, but for the general public also. If asbestos is found, please contact us immediately. Our Certified Technicians will safely and carefully remove the hazard and work with you until the process is complete.
If testing confirms the presence of asbestos, proper abatement procedures should be followed. When maintenance or demolition work disturbs asbestos materials the safest way to repair or remove the threat is to call us.
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