Frequently Asked Questions About Asbestos

Frequently asked questions about asbestos

Do you have questions about asbestos? If your question is not answered here, write us at ACM Removal at acmremoval@att.net. We will answer it either on this Frequently Asked Questions About Asbestos page or in one of our blog posts!

What is asbestos?
Asbestos fibers in its natural mineral form

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral found worldwide. Asbestos fibers are generally not visible to the human eye. However, when disturbed, asbestos fibers may become suspended in the air for many days, often unknowingly exposing individuals nearby. Asbestos particles can travel through ventilation systems.

Today, EPA regulations specifically address the most typical types of asbestos: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and tremolite. Approximately 95% of asbestos still used in commercial products is chrysotile.

Why is asbestos used?

The use of asbestos dates as far back as 750,000 years ago. It became a popular product in commercial manufacturing beginning in the 1800s due to its highly desirable properties:

  • Non-combustible
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • High-tensile strength
  • Low electrical conductivity
What types of products contain asbestos?
A specially suited professional removes a roof containing asbestos
A specially suited professional removes a roof containing asbestos.

Historically, asbestos fibers have been mixed with various binding materials to create some 3,000 different commercial products. Such items include roofing; pipes; pipe insulation; drywall and joint compounds; flooring; tiles; fire-resistant coatings; concrete; bricks; fireplace cement; acid-, heat- and fire-resistant gaskets; and ceiling insulation. It was also widely used in railcars, as thermal insulation for steam engines and in shipyards. Back in the 1950s, even baby blankets were made from asbestos!

When is asbestos exposure dangerous?

Prolonged inhalation of disturbed asbestos fibers is known to cause serious illness, including death. Those who have worked in shipyards, old railcars and the manufacture of asbestos-containing materials are subject to such conditions. Lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma and death may result from prolonged exposure.

When did the public become aware of the danger of asbestos?

During the 1900s, the detrimental effects of prolonged asbestos fiber inhalation gained increased public awareness due to a rising tide of court cases and legislation. Today, the many mesothelioma advertisements have kept the dangers of prolonged asbestos exposure front and center.

Has asbestos been banned in the US and other countries?
While asbestos is no longer widely used in US manufacturing, especially in consumer products, some products legally contain asbestos.
While asbestos is no longer widely used in US manufacturing, especially in consumer products, some products legally contain asbestos.

No, not entirely. While asbestos has been banned in more than 50 countries, the US and other nations have restricted its usage.

Asbestos has been banned from certain US-manufactured products such as flooring; pipe and furnace insulation; toys; acoustical spray; blankets; and other consumer products. While asbestos is no longer widely used in US manufacturing, especially in consumer products, some products legally contain asbestos. For instance, vehicle brakes are still made with asbestos, as are some industrial products.

The American Institute of Architecture (AIA) standard building specification prohibits the use of asbestos.

Products containing asbestos from other countries such as China and India are sometimes found in US stores as well as stores abroad.

Are products with asbestos always dangerous?

No, not always. Asbestos that is properly sealed and undisturbed is generally not a problem. For instance, old square 9″x9″ or 12″x12″ floor tiles likely contain asbestos. When well-maintained and sealed, it is not a problem. However, when such materials become disturbed or frayed, the microscopic fibers can be suspended in the air for many days.

Is asbestos a problem when renovating?
When remodeling, consider that inadvertently disturbing asbestos will expose you, others and the environment to its harmful effects.
When remodeling, it is important to consider that inadvertently disturbing existing asbestos will expose you, others and the environment to its harmful effects.

When renovating a home or business where asbestos may exist (generally in structures built before 1982 or built with foreign products), it is wise to make sure asbestos is not present. Improperly disturbing asbestos exposes you, others and the environment to its harmful effects.

EPA-certified professionals use specialized containment and ventilation systems during asbestos abatement. Such asbestos removal professionals know how to safely remove or encapsulate asbestos without exposing these ″invisible″ fibers to others and the environment.

How do you know if asbestos is present? What should you look for in a vendor?

The only way to know for sure is to bring in a qualified asbestos inspector who can provide testing and a professional opinion as to how to handle any asbestos. Be sure to check that your vendor uses EPA-certified staff who have the experience to do the job correctly. There are several steps involved in proper asbestos remediation.

What is the process for remediating asbestos?

There are four steps in properly remediating asbestos. First, EPA-certified inspectors assess areas and provide a comprehensive report. Next, EPA-certified workers use proved work practices to remove or ensapsulate the material. This is the abatement phase. The material is then properly disposed of. In the assurance step, a project closeout document or third-party verification is provided. Read more about this four-step process – Inspection, Abatement, Disposal, Assurance.

For safety and peace of mind, call ACM Removal–Kansas for professional asbestos removal.ACM Removal-Kansas

Ensure your home and business are safe for you, your family, your employees and your customers. For more information, a complimentary proposal and to schedule services, contact ACM Removal now at 316.684.1800.

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