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What You Need to Know About Asbestos

asbestosWhat is asbestos? It is a tiny mineral fiber that occurs in rocks and soil. It is 50 to 200 times thinner than a human hair. Asbestos is  often used because it can be made into a material having great thermal and sound deadening properties.  The issues with asbestos is when it becomes damaged or improperly removal from it’s intended use some particles can be released into the air. It can stay in the air for a long period of time and if  breathed in, can damage our lungs.  It has been known to cause lung scarring, pleural disease, and lung cancers including mesothelioma.

Where is asbestos found? According to the EPA, it is found in an estimated 3600 materials. Because of its fiber strength and heat resistance asbestos has been used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. It has also been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Even though it has been known to cause us illness there is not a complete ban on its uses today.  The more we learn about asbestos the more we try and distance ourselves from the use of it.

The manufacture, importation, processing and distribution in commerce of these products, as well as some others not listed, are not banned.

  • Cement corrugated sheet
  • Cement flat sheet
  • Clothing
  • Pipeline wrap
  • Roofing felt
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Cement shingle
  • Millboard
  • Cement pipe
  • Automatic transmission components
  • Clutch facings
  • Friction materials
  • Disk brake pads
  • Drum brake linings
  • Brake blocks
  • Gaskets
  • Non-roofing coatings
  • Roof coatings

asbestos protection

How can you tell if asbestos is in your home?  You can not tell just by looking if asbestos is in your home.  A thorough inspection commonly referred to as an asbestos survey needs to be done by a licensed asbestos consultant. They collect samples and send them to a third party lab who inspects the sample. NESHAP, the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants and each state have rules governing the testing, encapsulating or removal, and disposal of asbestos in place to minimize the chance of exposure. These professionals not only know how to and when to remove asbestos (or when to simply encapsulate it), they have the ability to properly dispose of the material as well. If a property is located in Pinellas County and either remodeling or demo is going to occur there is a law in place that must be followed.

Pinellas County Code, Chapter 58, sec. 58-149(d),
Requires a written asbestos survey be performed before demolition of a building, before any building renovations, and before maintenance is performed on insulated equipment or building systems. A copy of the survey report must be available on-site during any renovation activity and must be included with the written notification for demolition operations.

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