Following Information Comes From The EPA Website at:
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a number of naturally occurring fibrous
minerals with high tensile strength, the ability to be woven, and resistance to heat and most chemicals. Because of these
properties, asbestos fibers have been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, including roofing shingles, ceiling and
floor tiles, paper and cement products, textiles, coatings, and friction products such as automobile clutch, brake and transmission
parts. The Toxic Substances Control Act defines asbestos as the asbestiform varieties of: chrysotile (serpentine); crocidolite
(riebeckite); amosite (cummingtonite/grunerite); anthophyllite; tremolite; and actinolite.
Exposure to asbestos increases your risk of developing lung disease. That risk is made worse
by smoking. In general, the greater the exposure to asbestos, the greater the chance of developing harmful health effects.
Disease symptoms may take several years to develop following exposure. If you are concerned about possible exposure, consult
a physician who specializes in lung diseases (pulmonologist).
Exposure to airborne friable asbestos may result in
a potential health risk because persons breathing the air may breathe in asbestos fibers. Continued exposure can increase
the amount of fibers that remain in the lung. Fibers embedded in lung tissue over time may cause serious lung diseases including
asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma. Smoking increases the risk of developing illness from asbestos exposure.
of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure include:
Where can asbestos be found?
Asbestosis -- Asbestosis
is a serious, progressive, long-term non-cancer disease of the lungs. It is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers that irritate
lung tissues and cause the tissues to scar. The scarring makes it hard for oxygen to get into the blood. Symptoms of asbestosis
include shortness of breath and a dry, crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling. There is no effective treatment for asbestosis.
Cancer -- Lung cancer causes the largest number of deaths related to asbestos exposure. People who work in the mining,
milling, manufacturing of asbestos, and those who use asbestos and its products are more likely to develop lung cancer than
the general population. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are coughing and a change in breathing. Other symptoms include
shortness of breath, persistent chest pains, hoarseness, and anemia.
Mesothelioma -- Mesothelioma
is a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining (membrane) of the lung, chest, abdomen, and heart and almost all
cases are linked to exposure to asbestos. This disease may not show up until many years after asbestos exposure. This is why
great efforts are being made to prevent school children from being exposed.
Asbestos fibers are incredibly strong and have properties that make them resistant to heat. Many products are in use today
that contain asbestos. Most of these are materials used in heat and acoustic insulation, fire proofing, and roofing and flooring.
In 1989, EPA identified the following asbestos product categories. Many of these materials may still be in use.
|asbestos-cement corrugated sheet ||asbestos-cement flat sheet ||asbestos-cement
pipe ||asbestos-cement shingle |
|roof coatings ||flooring felt ||pipeline wrap
||roofing felt |
|asbestos clothing ||non-roof coatings ||vinyl/asbestos floor tile
||automatic transmission components |
|clutch facings ||disc brake pads ||drum brake linings
||brake blocks |
|commercial and industrial asbestos friction products ||sheet and beater-add gaskets
(except specialty industrial) ||commercial, corrugated and specialty paper ||millboard |
|| || || |
What if I have asbestos in my home?
The best thing to do is to leave asbestos-containing
material that is in good condition alone. If unsure whether or not the material contains asbestos, you may consider hiring
a professional asbestos inspector to sample and test the material for you. Before you have your house remodeled, you should
find out whether asbestos-containing materials are present. If asbestos-containing material is becoming damaged (i.e., unraveling,
frayed, breaking apart) you should immediately isolate the area (keep pets and children away from the area) and refrain from
disturbing the material (either by touching it or walking on it). You should then immediately contact an asbestos professional
for consultation. It is best to receive an assessment from one firm and any needed abatement from another firm to avoid any
conflict of interest. In such a scenario as described above, asbestos-containing material does not necessarily need to be
removed, but may rather be repaired by an asbestos professional via encapsulation or enclosure. Removal is often unnecessary.
Where can I find an accredited laboratory to test for asbestos?
The National Institute
for Standards and Technology (NIST) maintains a listing of accredited asbestos laboratories under the National Voluntary Laboratory
Accreditation Program (NVLAP). You may call
NIST at (301) 975-4016.