What is Asbestos

Asbestos causes cancer. Asbestos was used in building products, and actually, is still used to this day. Although must less. Only Thermal System Insulation (TSI) and automotive brake shoes have been officially banned for manufacture or import. 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. 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 its toxicity and its high biopersistence, is 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 agency’s regulations were created to reduce asbestos exposure.

Where was asbestos used?

People have used asbestos for 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 1980s, many types of building products and insulation materials were used in buildings containing asbestos. Common building products that might have contained asbestos in the past include:
  • Floor Tile
  • Linoleum
  • Black Mastic
  • Boilers
  • Underground Pipes
  • HVAC Duct Tape
  • Stage Lighting Cord
  • Fire Doors
  • Transite Roofing
  • Popcorn Texture
  • Drywall
  • Texture on Drywall
  • Joint Compound
  • Steam Pipes
  • Mirror Mastic
  • Heater Flue Pipe
  • Textured Paints
  • Transite Panels
  • Transite Shingles
  • Roof Shingles
  • Window Caulking
  • Door Caulking
  • Fireproofing
  • Furnace Duct Tape
  • Pipe Elbows
  • Window Glazing Putty
  • TSI
  • Soundproofing
  • 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.

    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:

    Employee Training
    Payroll Taxes
    Owned Equipment
    General Liability
    Workers Compensation
    Rented Equipment
    Pollution Liability

    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 are 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

    Statement by American Abatement: American Abatement did not develop the underlying information used to create the information at this website 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.