What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is manufactured from up to six, naturally occurring, silicate minerals. These minerals have been mined and used for various materials as far back as 4,500 years ago. Asbestos was first used to strengthen and insulate materials such as cookware, clothing, and other items. This material has been used since ancient times, so why now do we see and hear about all of the negative hype regarding this unique material?
ACM (asbestos containing material) and RACM (restricted asbestos containing material) in the US consists of 95% Chrysotile. Other silicate minerals used to manufacture ACM and RACM include Serpentine, Amphibole, Amosite, & Crocidolite. These minerals all have one thing in common. They have unique physical characteristics which make them perfect for building and insulating, as well as very hazardous to human health.
All of the minerals used to manufacture asbestos have been labeled by the EPA as carcinogenic, but why? The six silicate minerals which can be made into asbestos inherently form an eponymous asbestiform habit. The material itself is unique due to the thin, fibrous, crystals that create the matrix of this material.
ACM and RACM products make for great building material. Physical properties of this material are ideal for thermal insulating, sound proofing, fire proofing, and is a strong material with multiple applications. It has been used around the world to insulate furnaces, fire proof ships, protect hot plate wiring, and dampen sound. The product has also been heavily involved in the manufacturing of roofing products, wall & ceiling texture, sound proofing products, & other applications.
ACM and RACM use continued to increase into the twentieth century until public knowledge of the material’s health risks took center stage during the 80’s and 90’s. Courts and legislatures could no longer turn a blind eye to the public health hazards presented by the mining and use of ACM and RACM products. During the late 20th century; Asbestos trade and use became highly restricted, phased out, or banned outright. The EPA, US Government, other world governments, and the public cracked down on the dangerous building material as new research emerged regarding the negative impact on health it poses.
Litigation has been long and drawn out due to the material’s wide-spread use, harmful and long-term health affects, as well as the slow emergence of symptoms decades after exposure. This has been the longest, and most expensive mass tort in U.S. history and a much lesser legal issue in most other countries involved. Asbestos-related liability also remains an ongoing concern for many manufacturers, insurers, and employers.
Why Remove Asbestos?
With many buildings in the U.S. and other countries containing Asbestos; the risks and negative health affects from exposure still remains a strong concern. The toxic material was widely used in nearly all building applications; including wide spread use in spray-applied flame retardant, thermal insulation, paneling, popcorn texture (acoustic dampening), and many other materials. The world-wide presence of this toxic substance has led to a massive public outcry, and ongoing need for testing and removal.
The material is most dangerous in free, air born form. Your health is at serious risk once the thin, small, fibrous fibers are air born. This is often a result of damaged material, sanded asbestos, or damage which otherwise results in air born particulates. ACM is loose and air born material, and is called “friable”. Popcorn ceiling texture from 1980’s and earlier is an example of the friable form. Floor paneling or sealed material, where the fibers are not able to become air born, are considered non-friable.
Abatement is the testing, removal, or sealing of asbestos-based materials found in building structures, materials, and other products. Abatement always begins with testing. It is critical to know whether or not your structure or other property contains this dangerous material, as well as whether the material is ACM or RACM. Once a certified lab has deemed your property to contain ACM, it’s important to contact a professional abatement company in order to remove or seal it off.
What do I do if Asbestos is a Concern?
Call All Pro Services and get your property tested. Due to the wide use of this material, it is likely that you may require professional help with the testing and removal of this toxic substance. Remember, asbestos is dangerous and a basic face mask will NOT protect you from the asbestos fibers. Professional respirators, clean suits, and other equipment is required when testing for, removing, or sealing off asbestos containing products.
Exposure can be hard to detect, and symptoms often don’t arise until many years after inhalation. Long term exposure has been linked to respiratory diseases, cancer, and Asbestosis. Don’t risk your health, call All Pro Services today. Our professionals have years of experience, the equipment, and expertise in order to help you test for and remove this carcinogenic substance safely.
Asbestos Locations in Homes
For more information on abatement of this dangerous material,
call All Pro Services today. (801) 748-4020