Asbestos Services


Asbestos has been long sought after for its excellent heat resistance, versatility, strength, and affordability. Asbestos became increasingly popular during the 19th century, but it soon became apparent that it was the cause of a multitude of health problems. Asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers. Asbestos use was finally banned in the United States in 1978. However, builders and manufacturers were still allowed to use the rest of their supply, meaning homes built as late as 1986 may still contain asbestos. In the United States, reports show that up to 30 million homes and commercial buildings consist of some form of asbestos-containing material.

The daunting process of asbestos abatement and removal is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Asbestos removal should only be handled by a licensed asbestos removal contractor. Often times, disturbing asbestos containing materials can be more hazardous than simply leaving them alone. Materials in good condition should generally not be touched. If asbestos does pose a threat, than either repair or removal is considered. Only a licensed professional can test for asbestos and assess whether or not removal is safe and necessary. There are strict federal and state guidelines that need to be followed for the handling, removal and disposal of asbestos. Asbestos can be found in many areas of buildings and homes such as:

  • Paint
  • Flooring
  • Roofing, shingles
  • Tiles
  • Pipes
  • Furnaces
  • Gaskets
  • Wall insulation

Asbestos Removal

If you suspect that asbestos is in your home, have a licensed asbestos removal contractor come and test for it. A home inspection will be conducted, samples of material will be tested, and recommendations will be made on how to handle removal. Actual removal is generally a last resort because of the potential health risks involved. Disturbing asbestos materials during the removal process can cause fibers to become airborne, where they can be inhaled or ingested. If damaged material is found in your home, there are two options, which are removal or repair.

Asbestos Repair

Asbestos repair can be done in the following ways:

  • Encapsulation – Asbestos materials will be coated with a sealant to keep fibers from becoming airborne.
  • Enclosure – Asbestos materials are covered with an airtight material to prevent the release of fibers into the air.

Asbestos Removal

There are strict state and federal guidelines that must be adhered to for safe asbestos removal. The federal government offers training courses for licensed professionals to perform the following steps:

  • The area is sealed off typically with plastic sheeting to keep fibers from getting into other areas. Taped seals are double checked to make sure that fibers cannot escape.
  • HEPA air filters are placed in the work area and clean air exhaust ducts are installed outside of the area. The HEPA filters clean the air within the work area, while the exhaust ducts clean the air just outside while trapping any stray fibers that may have escaped.
  • Workers are instructed to wear a protective suit and respirators while removing asbestos material.
  • The work area is tightly secured. When asbestos removal begins unauthorized individuals may not enter the work space.
  • In-progress inspections are performed to ensure that all asbestos materials were completely removed. Asbestos materials are place in double plastic bags 6 mil thick.
  • After removal is complete, the work area is cleaned with HEPA vacuums and wiped down.

Asbestos Disposal

When removed, asbestos materials must be placed in a sealed dumpster and disposed of at an approved asbestos disposal site. A DTSC certificate must accompany the asbestos materials so that it is properly labeled as toxic, hazardous waste. Proper disposal is very important to ensure that asbestos materials are undisturbed and do not pose any further health hazards.

ypes of Asbestos That Can Cause Asbestos Diseases

Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals. There are six identified types of asbestos that belong to the amphibole and serpentine mineral families.

Amphibole Mineral Family

Five types of asbestos belong to the amphibole family. These varieties have sharp, straight chain-like structures that are easily inhaled.

Amphibole asbestos includes:

  • Actinolite asbestos
  • Amosite asbestos
  • Anthophyllite asbestos
  • Crocidolite
  • Tremolite asbestos

Actinolite Asbestos

Actinolite asbestos is generally dark in color and has sharp, needle like fibers that when airborne, can be easily inhaled. Actinolite is made up of other minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, and silicon. Actinolite was previously used in products such as cement, insulation materials, paints, sealants and drywall.

Amosite Asbestos

Amosite asbestos, also known as brown asbestos, is considered one of the most hazardous types of asbestos. Primarily mined in South Africa, amosite is characterized by sharp, brittle, needle-like fibers that can be easily inhaled. Amosite makes up about five percent of asbestos materials used in buildings in the United States making it the second most commonly used type of asbestos next to chrysotile.Amosite can be found in the following products:

  • Cement
  • Chemical insulation
  • Electrical insulation
  • Fire protection
  • Gaskets
  • Insulation boards
  • Plumbing insulation
  • Roofing
  • Thermal insulation
  • Tiles

Anthophyllite Asbestos

Like other types of asbestos in the amphibole family, anthophyllite is composed of long, needle-like fibers that can be easily inhaled into the lungs. Anthophyllite can range from brown to yellowish in color and is composed mainly of magnesium and iron. One of the more rare forms of asbestos, anthophyllite was not used as often in consumer products, but can be found in some cement and insulation materials.

Crocidolite Asbestos

Crocidolite asbestos, also known as blue asbestos, is considered the most hazardous type of asbestos in the amphibole family. Crocidolite is made up of extremely fine sharp fibers that are particularly easy to inhale. Studies show that crocidolite is so hazardous, it may be responsible for more illnesses and deaths than any other type of asbestos.

Crocidolite was rarely used in commercial products because it was found to be much less heat resistant than other types of asbestos. Crocidolite was used in products such as cement, tiles and insulation materials.

Tremolite Asbestos

Tremolite asbestos is known for its heat resistant properties and can also be woven into fabric. Like other asbestos in the amphibole family, tremolite has sharp fibers that can easily be inhaled or ingested. Tremolite is no longer mined and is responsible for many cases of asbestos-related cancer and asbestos diseases. Tremolite ranges in color from a milky white to a dark green and is found in other minerals such as talc and vermiculite. Tremolite was previously used in a variety of products such as paint, sealants, insulation, roofing and plumbing materials.

Serpentine Mineral Family

Chrysotile asbestos is the only known type of asbestos that belongs to the serpentine family. Also known as white asbestos, this variety is made up of curly fibers and has a layered structure.

Chrysotile Asbestos

Chrysotile asbestos is the most commonly used variety of asbestos, comprising 90 to 95 percent of asbestos used in buildings in the United States. Hailed for its heat resistant properties and flexible fibers that can be woven into fabric, chrysotile asbestos is used in a variety of asbestos insulation and fireproofing products.

Chrysotile can be found in the following products:

  • Asphalt
  • Brake lining
  • Brake pads
  • Cement
  • Clutches
  • Disk pads
  • Gaskets
  • Plastics
  • Roofing materials
  • Rubber
  • Textiles

Still mined today in Canada, Russia and Italy, there is continuing controversy between health care professionals and the companies that continue to export it. These companies claim that the chrysotile mined today is safe because it is only used in dense and non-friable products and is “encapsulated in a matrix of either cement or resin.” Health care professionals maintain that all forms of asbestos are a carcinogenic and no level of exposure is safe. Because it is the most widely used, chrysotile accounts for the majority of cases of mesothelioma and asbestos diseases including pleural mesothelioma.

Exposure to Asbestos

During the twentieth century, asbestos was one of the most commonly used materials in construction and manufacturing, particularly during the Industrial Revolution. It was not until around the 1940’s that a link was discovered between asbestos exposure and serious health problems. Asbestos exposure is linked to the development of respiratory diseases such as mesothelioma, also known as asbestos cancer, asbestosis and lung cancer. Asbestos exposure can occur anywhere in the workplace, in homes and throughout the community. Everyone is exposed to asbestos at some point in their lifetime. Low levels of asbestos can be found in the environment such as in air, soil and water. However it is uncommon for people to become ill from limited exposure. Most people that become sick are usually exposed to asbestos on a regular basis such as in the workplace or in their homes.

Asbestos Exposure Symptoms

Asbestos exposure symptoms include the following:

  • Difficult breathing
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest
  • Pain in the lungs
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Night sweats
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fatigue
  • High white cell count

Where Asbestos Exposure Can Occur

Asbestos exposure can occur naturally in the environment, through manufactured asbestos containing products, and through the disturbance of asbestos containing materials.

Naturally Occurring Exposure

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can be found in mountainous regions throughout the world. Exposure becomes a danger when asbestos-containing soil or bedrock is disturbed through activities such as mining, driving over soil, excavation, or natural weathering. Miners, hikers, or anyone exposed to or living near a disturbed site is at-risk of asbestos exposure. Populations living close to mines are at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer.

Occupational Exposure

Many American workers have endured prolonged asbestos exposure in the workplace across a variety of industries. Shipyard workers, miners, factory workers, military workers, and construction workers were all at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease. The families of these workers were also at risk of second hand asbestos exposure from fibers being brought home on hair, clothing or shoes. Teachers, students and staff in older school buildings may also be at risk due to asbestos materials in ceilings, flooring, and tiles.

Exposure Through the Disturbance of Asbestos-Containing Materials

Asbestos exposure becomes a major health hazard if asbestos-containing materials have been disturbed such as in renovations, demolitions, and home re-models and repairs. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods can also cause damage to asbestos-containing materials. A good example of dangerous asbestos exposure occurred during the September 11th attacks on The World Trade Center. Workers, firefighters, police officers and volunteers that rushed to the scene after the collapse of the towers were all exposed to airborne asbestos fibers in the rubble at Ground Zero.

Asbestos Health Effects

The health effects of asbestos exposure can be devastating. When airborne asbestos fibers become embedded in the lungs, the body has no way of expelling them. This leads to severe upper respiratory problems and diseases. Unfortunately the health effects take a long time to develop, leading to late detection of asbestos-related cancers. Adverse health effects of asbestos exposure include:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Pleural disease

The Asbestos and Mesothelioma Connection

Asbestos is the only known cause of pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos can also cause other asbestos diseases such as lung cancer and asbestosis.

What is Asbestos?

  • Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals commonly used in asbestos insulation and building materials such as flooring, ceilings, roofing, automotive parts and other construction materials.

Asbestos is known for its heat resistance, strength, and versatility. Asbestos is extremely toxic and known to cause a number of respiratory and lung disorders including pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos is banned in more than 60 countries worldwide because of its harmful effects as a human carcinogen.

Types of Asbestos

There are six different types of asbestos that have been identified and divided into two groups known as amphibole and serpentine.

Amphibole asbestos includes:

  • Actinolite asbestos
  • Amosite asbestos
  • Anthophyllite asbestos
  • Crocidolite
  • Tremolite asbestos

Serpentine asbestos includes:

  • Chrysotile asbestos: The most commonly used type of asbestos accounting for 95% of asbestos used in building materials within the United States.

Asbestos Removal

Because asbestos was so widely used in building materials as recently as 1986, asbestos abatement, or removal, has become a multi-billion dollar industry.

Th U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) regulate how asbestos abatement is conducted. Proper abatement is necessary, because when disturbed, asbestos-containing materials and asbestos insulation can release fibers into the air that can be inhaled. It is important to have a licensed and trained asbestos abatement professional assess if asbestos removal is safe.

Cancer Caused by Asbestos and Other Asbestos Diseases

When asbestos is inhaled into the lungs or accidentally ingested, it can have long-term devastating effects on your health.

The most common respiratory and lung diseases related to asbestos exposure are:

  • Mesothelioma: A rare but highly aggressive cancer that occurs in the lining of internal organs known as the mesothelium.
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis: A non-cancerous scarring of the tissue of the lungs due to asbestos exposure. People diagnosed with asbestosis have a higher chance of developing asbestos-related cancers.

Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure

Microscopic asbestos fibers can remain lodged in the lungs for many years and unlike other poisons, symptoms of exposure can take a long time to appear. Often times when symptoms do appear, people do not seek immediate medical attention. Asbestos related cancers and diseases may take up to 40 years to develop, which can result in late detection. Many people with asbestos poisoning have worked at jobs where they have had long-term exposure to asbestos and asbestos insulation such as in the construction and manufacturing industries.

Symptoms of asbestos exposure include:

  • Anemia
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficult breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • High white cell count
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Pain in the chest
  • Pain in the lungs
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
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