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Asbestos is a very dangerous chemical that was a popular building material in the mid 20th century. Unfortunately, builders found out too late that it causes a variety of cancers and other illnesses. Although most uses of asbestos are banned today, you can still find it in a variety of places.
Current Commercial Asbestos
Asbestos is still in use in a variety of industries today. Companies currently use asbestos in vinyl tile, corrugated sheeting, roofing, imported cement piping, auto clutches, and brake pads. If you work with anything that contains it, you should have as much asbestos information as possible because it is considered an extremely hazardous substance.
Where Else Is Asbestos Found?
Much of the asbestos has not been removed from older residential and commercial buildings. You can find it in the walls as insulation, as roofing, and as siding. Asbestos was useful in these applications because it is extremely resistant to fire. It was also used in shipbuilding for this reason. It is not unusual to come across the various applications of asbestos in buildings and other structures built in the 1970s.
You can also find it in certain types of paper, sealants, curtains, fire-resistant materials, boilers, and conduits. It is in anything that at the time was marketed as fireproof or fire-resistant, including the gear for firefighters. Vermiculite potting soil and other vermiculite products contained amounts of asbestos until as late as the 90s.
You can find asbestos in many older homes. It is in caulk, textured paints, joint compound, ceiling tiles, and floor tiles. These are dangerous to home renovators that might disturb them. You should know if something is asbestos before you begin your construction. You can have materials tested at one of the many testing centers across the United States.
Working With Asbestos
When you work with asbestos of any kind, it is extremely important not to open or break the premade articles that contain it. The powder or dust released is what is dangerous. If you run across asbestos as part of your job or as a remodeling project, you will need to take special precautions to avoid contaminating yourself and those around you. Some of these precautions include gloves, a respirator mask, and other personal protective gear.
It is important to remember that asbestos only truly dangerous when an asbestos tile, cloth, or shingle is broken. This makes removal or modification of anything made from it a serious problem. If you want to modify or remove it, you will need to contact your local government and the Environmental Protection Agency.
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