Asbestos: What You Need to Know

By Sandy Shadley, June 23, 2017

Asbestos: it’s that scary word that you may hear from time to time, especially if you work or live in an old building.  Whether you know a lot or very little about asbestos, what are the most important things that you need to know!  We have narrowed it down to the top 5 things.

  1. What is asbestos? Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. The mineral is composed of fine, durable fibers that are resistant to heat, fire, and many chemicals.  Asbestos also doesn’t conduct heat or electricity.  Therefore, asbestos was used in building materials.  Some of the most durable building materials out there were made of asbestos.  For example, there is floor tile that was installed 60 years ago that is in tremendous condition for its age.
  2. Where is asbestos found? Asbestos is mined all over the world. Most uses of asbestos have been banned in the United States.  Although it has been banned in the United States, asbestos is still mined and used in a variety of products worldwide.  Before being banned, asbestos was used in many building materials in homes, schools, commercial and industrial buildings.  Some popular suspect asbestos containing building materials, especially if installed prior to 1988, are vinyl sheet flooring, floor tiles, plaster, fireproofing, caulking, roofing shingles, adhesives, chalkboards, heating and electrical ducts, pipe insulation, fire doors, gaskets, ceiling tiles, thermal paper products and brake linings.
  3. Why is asbestos bad? Although asbestos makes a great building material, its resistance to everything causes issues to our body.  Asbestos fibers often become lodged in the lungs, eventually causing respiratory disease.
  4. How do you know if the material contains asbestos? In order to know 100% if a material contains asbestos, a sample needs to be collected and analyzed.  The sample should be collected by a licensed asbestos inspector (Alliance has several!).  Once the sample is collected, it is sent to an accredited laboratory where it is analyzed to determine whether or not it contains asbestos.
  5. How do I remove the asbestos? Asbestos should be removed by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor.  They are trained in how to properly remove the material.  As the material is being removed, air samples should be collected to make sure that there were no asbestos fibers that were released during the removal.

Alliance specializes in conducting asbestos inspections, collecting bulk and air samples, and asbestos project designing.  Contact us today to help you with all your asbestos needs.

Ms. Shadley is President of Alliance Environmental Group, a Woman-Owned Business. Ms. Shadley has project management expertise in asbestos, lead and indoor air quality. She is also well versed in groundwater sampling and data collection. Ms. Shadley is licensed asbestos inspector, management planner, project designer and asbestos abatement supervisor. Additionally, she is a licensed lead inspector and risk assessor. Ms. Shadley has completed over 50 projects related to asbestos and lead paint, as well as multiple projects related to indoor air quality.

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