Where Can You Find Asbestos In Your Home?

Asbestos can lurk in your home in many places you may not think of as being a place where you would find it. As asbestos has serious links to many diseases including lung cancer and asbestosis, it is important to learn where to look. Read on to learn of six unexpected places you may find asbestos in your home.

Asbestos does occur in a natural mineral form. At 700 times smaller than a human hair, you cannot see it and you should not go searching for it either.

Sealants And Seals

Caulking used around doors and windows had asbestos-containing materials until the 1970s. The asbestos improved the insulation and weatherproof aspects of the caulk but today health risks are posed by remnants of it surviving when the caulking is being replaced, is flaking or worn. If you are renting or buying a home built prior to 1989, it is a good idea to check with a professional for asbestos.

Siding and Roofing

If you think of fried food you will start to understand the terminology used in asbestos siding and roofing, When something is “nonfriable,” it is difficult to break down as it is made from strong, tightly held together fibers. A nonfriable material, however, through normal wear and tear can sometimes loosen and pull apart. Both of these kinds can be found in asbestos siding and roofing. Luckily, checking, in this case, is fairly simple. Just look for product numbers or markings. if it is not broken up, it is best to be left alone and intact.

Ducts And Pipes

Ductworks and metal pipes are great heat carriers, additional outer wraps or treated coatings help keep more heat en route to the vents where the air comes out to heat rooms. As with caulking and gaskets, products with asbestos were commonly used materials when reinforcing pipes and ducts.

Older steam pipes and even some hot water plumbing are wrapped in blankets that contain asbestos. These pose serious risks when cut or removed. You need the services of a  professional who uses protective measures to dampen particle release. Any systems in older homes, even if they appear intact, can be evaluated for cracks or deterioration by a trained asbestos inspector.

Ceiling Tiles

Many commercial and public buildings from hospitals and classrooms to stores and offices — have ceiling tiles containing asbestos. They were a practical choice for insulation and fire-resistant properties. Their popularity spread to housing construction until the late 1980s.

Wallpapering

One big reason house renters may turn down a home is if the wall has ugly our outdated looking wallpaper because it can be a major hassle to remove and replace. But if the wallpaper was applied before 1980, it may contain asbestos. If the wallpaper is intact, it is best left alone but if you can see curling or cracking, the paper can be professionally tested. Sealing the walls with paint and special coatings can help prevent the spread of asbestos in these circumstances.

Stove Surrounds and Furnaces

Asbestos is naturally very heat resistant and non-flammable, so it was a great choice for protecting surfaces around furnaces and wood-burning stoves. Dense papers, thick boards and sheets of special cement all composed with asbestos fiber are prevalent in U.S. homes built before about 1980, and asbestos-containing disks for covering stovetop heat elements also abound.

Upgrading stoves and heating systems in any way that involves removing or disturbing the fireproofing surrounding the units themselves should involve the help of a trained asbestos expert. While these surrounds were designed to protect the walls and floors from heat damage, they are now some of the more dangerous asbestos sources to humans if broken down without protective measures. Often, homeowners decide to live with the outdated and sometimes funky looking old heat stoves and furnaces in order to avoid the release of asbestos from the surrounding materials, and generally, just leaving them alone is a safe way to keep the asbestos contained.

Asbestos, OSHA & AHERA Training

The Asbestos Institute has provided EPA and Cal/OSHA-accredited safety training since 1988. From OSHA 10 to hazmat training and asbestos certification, our trusted and experienced instructors make sure participants get the high-quality initial and refresher training they need.

Classroom

We train on-site at our headquarters in Phoenix, AZ or at our clients’ sites across the U.S. We offer both English and Spanish courses. Browse Classroom Classes

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How to Tell The Difference Between Cellulose and Asbestos Insulation

Asbestos In The News 2021

With asbestos still being used as a very commonly used fire retardant and a very popular insulator right until the end of the 1980’s. It was very versatile, affordable and it could be used in tiles and blow it with another material, vermiculite.

Differences Between Asbestos And Cellulose Insulation

Before we review the differences between asbestos and cellulose insulation, it is worth comprehending the properties regarding each of these materials.

Asbestos Insulation

Many people do not know that asbestos is, in fact, a natural mineral. asbestos is in general terms flexible and soft but also has great corrosion resistant and heat resistant properties. From the early 1950’s for a period of nearly forty years, the construction industry used asbestos as an insulator and fire retardant. When you view older buildings and houses, you will still find asbestos in drywall, tiles, tile grout and in the attic. That being said, so long as there are no damage or wall cavities exposing asbestos fibers in the living areas of the property, it is deemed to be safe. However, it becomes a very serious health hazard when asbestos particles become airborne and are able to reach the areas of the proeprty you occupy.

Cellulose Insulation

As an asbestos alternative, cellulose insulation is made from many different materials including cardboard, hemp, straw, newspaper, and many other different materials. When a paper-based cellulose mix is utilized by builders, it is treated with something called boric acid to give it fire resistance properties.

The two most common forms of cellulose insulation include dry cellulose and that is also known as loose-fill insulation. Builders will use a blower to blow the cellulose into the wall through holes. it can also be used to fill wall cavities. Wet spray cellulose is something builders use to apply to walls that have been newly constructed. The primary difference between dry cellulose and wet spray is that water is added during the sprying process. it provides a better seal for the prevention of heat loss.

Like asbestos, cellulose works well within pipes, walls and around wiring. it assists in both suppressing fires and both insulating your home. Cellulose also utilizes material that is recycled and that is a big advantage for owners of buildings looking to go green.

Differences

So now you understand the differences in the ingredients, they do look very similar when they are inspected. Although it is a different insulator, there are similar issues with vermiculite attic insulation as it is a very difficult proposition to see whether asbestos is contained within. The best thing to do is not to touch it but obtain the services of a professional to extract some samples and get a confirmation as to whether it contains asbestos. If asbestos is contained, you will want to seriously consider instituting a program of asbestos management or to completely remove the asbestos.

What To Do Next

When more than ten square feet of asbestos, you need the services of a professional abatement company. When you are handling larger projects, there is an extremely high risk of exposure and contamination not only to you but also those around you.

The professional contractor will quickly and safely remove the asbestos and with the set-up of barriers surrounding the work area to prevent tenants from coming into contact with asbestos. Reverse airflow will be used to keep the asbestos fibers from spreading. They will then wear equipment with special protective qualities and cleanse the area with HEPA filter vacuums and then properly dispose of the asbestos.

Asbestos, OSHA & AHERA Training

The Asbestos Institute has provided EPA and Cal/OSHA-accredited safety training since 1988. From OSHA 10 to hazmat training and asbestos certification, our trusted and experienced instructors make sure participants get the high-quality initial and refresher training they need.

Classroom

We train on-site at our headquarters in Phoenix, AZ or at our clients’ sites across the U.S. We offer both English and Spanish courses. Browse Classroom Classes

Online

Online courses allow you to align your learning with your personal schedule. This is a great option for students with family and work commitments. Browse Online Classes

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Asbestos Certification

Asbestos Certification

Asbestos is often found in older buildings and represents a serious hazard to health for those who encounter it. At one time because of its low cost and high resistance factors, it was a common material used in many kinds of buildings from the 1940s until 1990. Boiler and pipe insulation may also contain asbestos resulting in diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Local and Federal government have asbestos abatement laws and building requirement codes in place for dealing with asbestos-containing materials, known as ACM’s. Any independent contractor or business involved in a project involving asbestos removal must first take an asbestos training course from a certified training school.

There are many kinds of asbestos training courses. Read on to learn about some of them and what is involved in the courses so you can make a determination of what suits your particular needs.

Asbestos Training Laws And Regulations

OSHA states it is a requirement of all employers to provide a  mandatory asbestos training course lasting two hours every year for all employees who are exposed to airborne asbestos fibers that are microscopic in size and do not dissolve into the atmosphere. There are no safe levels of asbestos exposure. The EPA also requires all university and school custodial and maintenance staff to undergo 16 hours of training.

Asbestos Safety Course

This is a beginner’s course for anyone likely to encounter asbestos at home or at work. It covers the basics about asbestos, identifying asbestos products, asbestos regulations, the health hazards, legal requirements and how to protect yourself (and others) for asbestos exposure. obviously, the course meets OSHA regulations regarding the removal and handling of materials containing asbestos as well as demolition, renovation, and construction work in buildings that contain asbestos materials.

Asbestos Awareness Training

OSHA requires all employers with asbestos in the business premises to provide this course for all of the employees who may come into contact with said materials. This course is also required for those work as custodial and maintenance staff in universities and schools. This course covers the history of the product, how it was used, federal and local regulations, health effects concerning asbestos, how it can be contained and how exposure to airborne asbestos fibers can be avoided.

Construction Professionals and Contractors Asbestos Training

Workers, construction managers, and independent contractors are required to understand the dangers of working with asbestos. This course is designed specifically for employees and employers who work in a wide range of buildings containing asbestos. It also covers all the information needed to avoid asbestos exposure and maintain all EPA and OSHA health and safety requirements.

Supervisors And Managers Asbestos Training

An Asbestos Supervisor License is required for all managers and supervisors. This training course is specifically designed to provide all the information a supervisor needs to know in order to become certified and lead employees who handle asbestos. An Asbestos Supervisory Certificate is provided upon successful completion of the course and has to be renewed periodically by taking a refresher course.

Material Handlers And Asbestos Workers Training

For workers handling asbestos, this training provides the needed info on the removal and handling of asbestos products as well as their safe disposal. It also covers asbestos encapsulation and hows to maintain and use personal protective equipment. all workers are required to complete this course and attain an Asbestos Workers License that is periodically reviewed.

Maintenance Staff And Technicians Asbestos Training

When there are even small amounts of asbestos materials in the workplace need to be fully trained and know and understand the risks associated with asbestos. Maintenance, custodial staff, and building technicians are required to take this course to know how to avoid exposure to asbestos and be able to perform their work safely in locations that contain asbestos materials.

Asbestos, OSHA & AHERA Training

The Asbestos Institute has provided EPA and Cal/OSHA-accredited safety training since 1988. From OSHA 10 to hazmat training and asbestos certification, our trusted and experienced instructors make sure participants get the high-quality initial and refresher training they need.

Classroom

We train on-site at our headquarters in Phoenix, AZ or at our clients’ sites across the U.S. We offer both English and Spanish courses. Browse Classroom Classes

Online

Online courses allow you to align your learning with your personal schedule. This is a great option for students with family and work commitments. Browse Online Classes

Webinar

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Asbestos Floor Tiles

Asbestos Floor TIles

Until the 1980s, asbestos was regularly used in construction as it was durable and resilient. However, in that decade it was banned when there were discovered to be serious health risks. But a ban did not mean its complete removal from homes. Even today many homeowners sit, wor kand live around hazardous asbestos-containing materials that are especially unhealthy during times of repair, renovation, and removal.

If you reside in an older home, read on to learn if your floor tiles may contain asbestos, how you can make a determination if that is the case and how you and your family can be safe.

Health Issues Caused By Exposure To Asbestos

Fibers from asbestos are a health risk when they are friable. This means the material can crumble, releasing fibers into the air. When inhaled, these fibers lodge in the lungs, preventing them from breaking down and this can lead to illness. The main diseases primarily related to exposure from asbestos are: asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.

Floor tiles made from asbestos will only release toxic fibers is they are disturbed, usually through sawing, drilling, sanding or ripping the tiles out. In these circumstances, fibers can be released into the air. Whenever possible, they should not be disturbed or removed.

Asbestos Floor Tile Identification

The best way is to have the tiles tested. You can get a test kit or use the services of an asbestos remediation expert. Before doing this be sure to contact your local building authority as some locales restrict testing to licensed asbestos remediation specialists. The cost of their testing can run between $350 to $800. Other signs your floor tiles may have asbestos in them include if your home was built before 1980, he flooring uses tiles that are 9, 12 or 18-inch squares, the tiles appear oily or stained or if there is thick black adhesive underneath where flooring tiles have come away.

Coping With Asbestos Tile

One option is to leave it in place and cover it with new flooring. Laminate flooring, new vinyl flooring, and carpeting can all be laid over the top as the original tiles are very thin. All you need to do is ensure a fiber cent backer is utilized first.

Asbestos Floor Tile Removing Services

The only times you cannot leave asbestos floor tiles in place is when you want to refinish the wood flooring beneath the tiles or if you are intent on disturbing the tile during a remodel. By far the safest removal option is to have a licensed asbestos remediation contractor remove the old tiles, usually at a cost of between $6 to $10 per square foot. This will depend on your location, the tile condition and local regulations that may mean additional steps have to be taken.

Asbestos, OSHA & AHERA Training

The Asbestos Institute has provided EPA and Cal/OSHA-accredited safety training since 1988. From OSHA 10 to hazmat training and asbestos certification, our trusted and experienced instructors make sure participants get the high-quality initial and refresher training they need.

Classroom

We train on-site at our headquarters in Phoenix, AZ or at our clients’ sites across the U.S. We offer both English and Spanish courses. Browse Classroom Classes

Online

Online courses allow you to align your learning with your personal schedule. This is a great option for students with family and work commitments. Browse Online Classes

Webinar

Live webinars allow you to watch instructors on demand from the comfort of your home or office. Learn, chat with other students, and ask questions in real-time. Browse Live Webinars

Identifying Dangerous Asbestos Insulation

Identifying Dangerous Asbestos Insulation

In today’s world, most homeowners are familiar with the dangers associated with inhaling and disturbing asbestos fibers. Older homes often feature asbestos in diverse places such as floor tiles, furnaces, and hot water pipe insulation. People are advised not to disturb it and leave it in place or if it has to be moved or has become disturned call in the services of a professional asbestos abatement company to handle the situation.

However, asbestos can also be found in some forms of wall and loose-fill attic insulation as well. If the insulation is in batt form there is nothing to worry about – it is loose-fill insulation poured loosely into wall stud cavities or joists that are problematical. You may also find thousands upon thousands of loose particles beneath the floorboards of your attic and inside walls. All of those can be a dangerous risk.

Read on to learn more about whether your attic insulation contains asbestos.

Vermiculite Attic Insulation

The primary sources of asbestos danger include vermiculite attic insulation. That said not all sources or brands of this product are hazardous. Vermiculite itself is not by manufacture harmful. it is often used in gardening to loosen the soil. It is a pellet-like mineral that expands at high temperatures.

Of course, it is also used for insulation. a US brand made for about 70 years from the Libby mine in Montana called Zonolite has become a health danger as the contents include Tremolite, an asbestos-like material. Around 70% of homes in this time period used this form of insulation. Here are some signs to look for that indicate your loose-fill insulation may be contaminated with asbestos:

  • Your house was constructed prior to 1990
  • The particles of insulation have a particular color. Zonolite was often a gold-silver or a brown-gray in appearance.
  • There is an accordion-style texture to the particles.
  • If the insulation lays flat it may well be Zonolite in the joist cavity, versus loose-fill fiberglass whereby the particles have a tendency to puff-up because of heat.

Is The Loose-Fill Gray, Soft And Lacking A Shine?

if so, it is most likely insulation made from cellulose containing no minerals and a high content or recycled paper. A closer inspection reveals there are no earth minerals present, just the appearance of shredded gray paper. This makes cellulose very safe and popular flor blowing into the cavities between the joists.

Is The Loose-Fill White And Fluffy With A Slight Shine?

This is most likely to be fiberglass insulation. The slight shine coming from the fact it is a glass product. Very soft to the touch, it can be a hindrance to breathing but is not known to have long time side effects like cancer.

Is The Loose-Fill Gray, Fibrous, And Puffy?

Rock wool is yet another loos-fill insulation that is mineral-based giving off a soft, almost cotton-like appearance in its bundles of fibers. Off white in color, it is made by letting basaltic rock as well as dolomite and them air pressure is utilized to spin it into fibers. Obviously the fibers should be handled cautiously but as yet this material is not known to cause cancer.

What To Do If I Suspect I have Zonolite Vermiculite Insulation?

The best way to see if your insulation contains Zonolite is to purchase an asbestos testing kit or have a commercial company come out and test on your behalf. If it turns out you have Zonolite, you are strongly advised to find an abatement company to handle the removal.

Asbestos, OSHA & AHERA Training

The Asbestos Institute has provided EPA and Cal/OSHA-accredited safety training since 1988. From OSHA 10 to hazmat training and asbestos certification, our trusted and experienced instructors make sure participants get the high-quality initial and refresher training they need.

Classroom

We train on-site at our headquarters in Phoenix, AZ or at our clients’ sites across the U.S. We offer both English and Spanish courses. Browse Classroom Classes

Online

Online courses allow you to align your learning with your personal schedule. This is a great option for students with family and work commitments. Browse Online Classes

Webinar

Live webinars allow you to watch instructors on demand from the comfort of your home or office. Learn, chat with other students, and ask questions in real-time. Browse Live Webinars

Intro to Operation and Maintenance

Many people today have a false perception of the hazards of asbestos containing materials which are installed in buildings in the United States. Asbestos in most building materials is an additive in a material at a fairly low percentage (usually in the range of 1% – 10%). Asbestos is not a health hazard to humans unless it becomes airborne and is inhaled. The vast majority of asbestos containing manufactured building materials are what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) calls “intact” materials. This means that the fibers of asbestos are bound in the matrix of the material and are not free to float in the air. On the other hand, if a person used a mechanical grinder or sander on the material, it would become “non-intact”. The matrix is destroyed or pulverized and the fibers are free to float in the air (and they will).

So, the concept of asbestos management is to be able to operate a building and maintain its systems in a normal functioning manner without causing the asbestos fibers in an ACM (asbestos containing material) to become airborne. The presence of ACM is not a hazard to building occupants. The presence of asbestos fibers floating or “entrained” in the air is. Most buildings in the United States contain ACM.

This concept of operations and management of ACM is specific to the interior portions of occupied buildings. It is not about repairing a leaking asbestos cement pipe in a trench in a roadway. It is not about repairing a damaged roof or exterior construction. It has a twofold agenda: protect the building occupants from asbestos exposure because of maintenance disturbance of ACM and protect the facility maintenance worker from exposure to asbestos because of disturbing the ACM in his building.

The following is a quote from EPA upon the publication of their 1990 “Green Book” on O&M:

“…Emphasizing the importance and effectiveness of a good O&M program is a critical element of EPA’s broader effort to put the potential hazard and risk of asbestos exposure in proper perspective…which EPA hopes will calm the unwarranted fears that a number of people seem to have about the mere presence of asbestos in their buildings and discourage the spontaneous decisions by some building owners to remove all asbestos containing material regardless of its condition.“

-From “Operations and Maintenance – Managing Asbestos in Place in Buildings”

The Asbestos Institute, 2019

Thoughts on the U.S EPA “2019 FINAL RULE” for Asbestos

The Asbestos Institute is pleased to post this EPA summary of the “2019 Final Rule” for asbestos, commonly referred to as the Significant New Use Rule (SNUR).  This rule has been needed for the last 30 years in the US, to give final closure to legal asbestos use.  Since the 1989 EPA bans on some asbestos products in use at that time, and any new uses, the regulatory door remained open for most asbestos products to be used in this country. These products are referred to in our industry by their OSHA title, “Class II Materials”.  These are most of the construction products you see the building you are in right now (flooring, wallboard, vinyl base, ceiling materials, roofing, etc.).  This new rule has finally closed that door.

Continue reading “Thoughts on the U.S EPA “2019 FINAL RULE” for Asbestos”

What is Asbestos?

Commonly known as a dangerous substance, most individuals don’t realize that asbestos is found in nature.

Ask most individuals on the street today to describe asbestos or to provide insight into its characteristics, properties, or even what it simply looks like, and they’ll likely deliver a blank stare. Asbestos is a substance that is known worldwide to be harmful and hazardous to one’s health – and it is also known to be all too prevalent in older buildings, structures, and vessels around the globe. Asbestos, in its natural form, is one of a number of six silicate minerals that present themselves in long, fibrous crystals. In fact, asbestos crystals are generally twenty times longer than they are wide. It has incredible tensile strength and excellent insulating properties which leads to a range of applications. Most asbestos is categorized according to its color – “white asbestos,” “blue asbestos,” and more.

Continue reading “What is Asbestos?”