About asbestos

What is Asbestos
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber found in certain types of rock formations in many locations throughout the world.  Asbestos can take the form of long, thin, separable fibers.  Most asbestos used in the U.S. was imported from mines in Canada, China, and Africa.  A smaller amount of asbestos was mined from locations in the U.S.

When milled for various applications asbestos is a very small fiber, about 5 microns, they can not be seen by the naked eye.  The small fiber looking objects you may see when you tear a piece of linoleum paper backing are not asbestos fibers, they are supporting binders, those supporting binders you see are like the size of a 10 foot diameter red wood tree, the asbestos fibers inside the supporting binder would be the size of a needle.  Clearly not visible.  Asbestos can only be positively identified with a microscope, specific preparation techniques and training in identifying asbestos fibers from other fibers that look similar.

There are two major groups of asbestos:

Serpentine Asbestos:
  • Chrysotile
Amphibole Asbestos:
  • Tremolite
  • Amosite
  • Crocidolite
  • Actinolite
  • Anthophyllite

The major difference between serpentine and amphiboles is related to their chemical composition, acid-resistant properties, and their effects on human health.  

Chrysotile asbestos does not persist in the lungs after inhalation; it is quickly eliminated by the body. A prolonged exposure to high concentrations of chrysotile fibers is required for the clinical manifestation of pulmonary damage to appear.  In the past, such high exposures were frequent; it is no longer the case today.  Today, chrysotile is the only asbestos fiber commercialized, and still imported into the US. A trip to your local hardware store will demonstrate the continued use of asbestos, go to the area with roof patching material and read the ingredients.

Amphibole asbestos, on the other hand, because of their toxicity and their high biopersistence, are mainly responsible for mesothelioma and pulmonary diseases even caused after a short or moderate exposure.

Asbestos was used extensively in the past in building materials for its thermal insulating properties, and fire resistance.  It was also used in industrial products, and automotive parts and components because of its strengthening properties. 

Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard and is highly regulated by OSHA, EPA and many state and local agencies. These agencies regulations were created to reduce asbestos exposure.

Where was asbestos used?
People have used asbestos a long time.  One of its earliest known usages was in Egypt.  The queen would amuse guests by tossing an asbestos woven table cloth into the fireplace.  The table cloth would not burn but all the food and drink stains would disappear leaving the table cloth like new.

Today most products made do not contain asbestos. Those few products which still contain asbestos that could be inhaled are required to be labeled as such. However, until the 1980’s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in buildings contained asbestos. Common building products that might have contained asbestos in the past include:  


  Floor Tile Popcorn Texture Roof Shingles
  Linoleum Drywall Window Caulking
  Black Mastic Texture on Drywall Door Caulking
  Yellow Adhesive Joint Compound Fireproofing
  Boilers Steam Pipes Pipe Elbows
  Underground Pipes Mirror Mastic Window Glazing Putty
  HVAC Duct Tape Heater Flue Pipe Furnace Duct Tape
  Stage Lighting Cord Textured Paints TSI
  Fire Doors Transite Panels Soundproofing
  Transite Roofing Transite Shingles Transite Siding

 


Is it asbestos?
There is only one way to positively identify asbestos, and that is specially trained persons with special microscopes that test for asbestos.                       

What American Abatement can do
American Abatement’s employees are professionals trained to handle any type of asbestos materials, and help determine the best course of action based on your specific needs. 

We have exceptional credentials.  All our workers are trained, experienced, reputable, and AHERA accredited.  We have developed a reputation for being a safe, ethical, and cost conscious asbestos abatement contractor. 

Standard Practices

American Abatement generally furnishes all:

      Labor                               Payroll Taxes                 Workers Compensation 
      Materials                       
 Owned Equipment         Rented Equipment
      Employee Training       General Liability             Pollution Liability
      Expertise                        Knowledge


and all other items necessary to complete the specific asbestos abatement scope on-time.

  
      • We obtain all required permits including any necessary state, and local licenses. 

      • We will assist you in completing a NESHAP application if required.

      • We maintain the following information for a period of at least 30 years for each project:
                •   Certificates of initial training showing that each Supervisor has successfully completed
                     the required EPA approved Contractor/Supervisor course.

                •   Certificates of refresher training showing that each Supervisor has successfully
                     completed the required EPA approved Contractor/Supervisor annual refresher course.

                •   Certificates of initial training showing that each asbestos worker has successfully completed the required EPA  approved  asbestos worker course.

                •   Certificates of refresher training showing that each asbestos worker has successfully completed the required EPA  approved  asbestos worker annual refresher course.

                •   OSHA Personnel air samples analyzed by a qualified laboratory (NIOSH Proficiency Analytical Testing (PAT)  Program, or is  accredited by the AIHA for asbestos.

                •   OSHA Medical examinations.

                •   Waste manifests signed by the transporter and the landfill at an EPA approved landfill.

Project Specific Practices
For each project we have in place:

      • Written Hazard Communication Program
      • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
      •
Work Plan and Containment Configuration
      • Respirator Program 
      • Pre-construction Meeting
      • Safety Meetings

 

EIA      EPA Asbestos Logo    Urban Housing Logo    Indoor Air Quality Association    EIA National Logo    VOSB Logo    NESHAP logo

Statement by American Abatement:. American Abatement did not develop the underlying information used to create the information at this web site and does not warrant the accuracy and completeness of such information. American Abatement emphasizes that asbestos and black mold should not be handled, sampled, removed or repaired by anyone other than a qualified professional.