Asbestos use has been phased out since 1989 and banned entirely in 2003, however the myriad of past applications – from building materials to brake linings – does need special consideration when it comes to removing and disposing of the substance. How can contractors and other professionals working at a job site that has or may have asbestos take the necessary precautions? For starters, by working with an accredited abatement contractor.
What is asbestos?
First of all, asbestos is not a single material. The term describes specific naturally occurring minerals that form into aggregates of long, strong fibers. These materials have been used for thousands of years, most abundantly over the last century, primarily in a broad array of insulation applications.
If the fibers separate and become airborne, known as friable asbestos, exposure can lead to adverse health conditions. The decision to remove or not remove asbestos from a site typically depends on whether the asbestos is – or can become – airborne and lead to human exposure. For example, a “popcorn” ceiling or aging insulation that contains asbestos can lead to airborne fibers. Undisturbed building siding that contains asbestos likely would not lead to exposure – this type of material is known as “non-friable”. However, if the siding is improperly removed (e.g., broken and crumbled), it could create airborne asbestos and thereby become “friable”. … read more
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