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Frequently Asked Questions
What is asbestos?Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous, silicate mineral. It is composed of flexible fibers that are resistant to heat, electricity, and corrosion which makes it highly useful in commercial and industrial applications. Unfortunately, asbestos is also highly toxic and exposure can cause many serious health conditions. Asbestos is found and can be mined naturally all over the world. It can be found on its own or as a contaminant in other minerals such as talc and vermiculite. There are six different types of asbestos that fall into two different categories: amphibole and serpentine.
When was asbestos used and what was it for?Because of its vast array of applications, asbestos has been used as long as humans have been around to use it – archaeologists have found evidence of asbestos use to strengthen ceramic pots as far back as the Stone Age! Modern asbestos manufacturing, however, became a prosperous industry in the late 1800s at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Asbestos was commonly used in construction and automobile manufacturing, particularly in the United States. Common asbestos-containing products are: Cement Electrical Insulation Flooring and Roofing Thermal Insulation Gaskets and Packing Materials Spray-on Fire Retardant While as of 2005, asbestos was banned throughout the European Union, there is still no asbestos ban in the United States. The health risks of asbestos have been well known since at least the 1930s, but the federal government did not pass any legislation limiting exposure until the 1970s. Currently, asbestos use in the US is allowed but heavily regulated.
Why is asbestos dangerous?Asbestos is dangerous for several reasons. The first is that you won’t know if you’ve been exposed to it. It won’t cause itchy skin, coughing, or scratchy throats – there are no immediately obvious indications of exposure because the fibers are too small to see, feel, or taste. Because the fibers of asbestos are so small, they travel deep into the lungs when inhaled and lodge in the lung tissue causing serious disease and even death. Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing: Lung Cancer Asbestosis Mesothelioma Pleural Effusions Other cancers
What is asbestos abatement?Asbestos abatement refers to the procedures designed to control the release of dangerous asbestos fibers from materials that contain asbestos. Abatement is utilized when there is a high risk of releasing fibers such as during material removal, encapsulation, or repair. Proper abatement is essential for the protection of both workers and building inhabitants. The area being abated will be sealed off and a special vacuum that is designed just for asbestos containment will be used to clean up during and after asbestos removal.
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