Asbestos, a fibrous mined mineral:
When asbestos crystals initially cool, the molecules line up parallel to one another forming hair like
crystal lattices. Asbestos minerals have three cleavage plains as do other gemstones. Asbestos
however contains a cleavage plain not as strong as the other two allowing a natural break down of the
material that resembles splintering.
This "break-down" process or rendering an asbestos containing material (ACM) "fri-able" can continue
occurring; one large fiber can ultimately become the source of literally hundreds of much smaller,
thinner, more harmful fibers. As these harmful fibers become broken down like microscopic needles
and become lighter they easily become airborne and disperse, remaining suspended by air current.
The majority of breathable asbestos fibers are invisible to the unaided human eye because their size
can be as small as 3.0 µm in length and can be as thin as 0.01 µm in comparison to human hair that
ranges in size from 17 to 181 µm in width. There is a great concern for exposure during real-estate
renovation, restoration, or home-improvement projects conducted with-out first performing the required
testing, followed by appropriate asbestos removal practices of the (ACM).
The fri-ability of an (ACM) product is determined by the strength of the matrix structure and whether it
can be crushed or pulverized by hand pressure. Friable materials are of the most initial concern due to
their ease of damage and probability of becoming airborne. Non-friable materials can also release
substantial quantities of asbestos fibers into the environment however, generally the force given to
crush or pulverize the matrix structure is greater than hand pressure.
Common uses of asbestos:
Asbestos through generations proved more and more useful in many conveniences such as our break shoes, covering electrical
wiring, fire retardant clothing, underground water pipe mains, sound proofing, fire proofing, decorative wall and ceiling textures,
flooring materials....the list goes on and on. When the near indestructible nature of the material is considered it then becomes
clear as to how inhalation, or ingestion of the material may result in long term health effects.
In the United States, chrysotile, the “white” asbestos mined and obtained from serpentine rock has been the most common type
of asbestos commercially used. Chrysotile asbestos is often present in a wide variety of materials, including but not limited to:
Sheetrock taping, drywall or plaster mud, ceiling and wall texture coatings, vinyl floor tiles, sheeting,
adhesives and ceiling tiles, heat duct wrap or seam tape, plasters and stucco's, acoustical ceilings, putty,
fireproofing or insulation, interior fire doors, roofing tars and felts, exterior shingles or siding "transite"
panels, counter-tops, pipe insulation, caulk, gaskets, clutch plates, brake pads and shoes, stage curtains
and fire blankets. Asbestos linings were once used in automobile brake pads and shoes.
Amosite a trade name for the amphiboles belonging to the Cummingtonite- Grunerite solid solution series, and crocidolite also
known as riebeckite, “both part of the Amphibole group” were also used in many products until the early 1980s, when the use of
asbestos in the amphibole group was banned. Some of these products were, but not limited to:
Low density insulation board and ceiling tiles, thermal and chemical insulation (i.e., fire rated doors, limpet
spray, lagging and gaskets), asbestos-cement sheets and pipes for construction, casing for water and
Other natural and not currently regulated asbestos minerals, such as richterite and winchite may be found as contaminate in
products such as the vermiculite containing zonolite, commonly used as attic insulation. These forms of asbestos are no less
harmful than chrysotile, amosite, or crocidolite.
Many are under the impression that the United States Environmental Protection Agency Asbestos in your home(EPA) has
banned and phased out all asbestos containing materials available for use on our market. This is simply not true, there are still
materials that can legally contain trace amounts of asbestos.
For a clarification of products which legally contain asbestos visit the EPA's clarification statement found at the following link.
Asbestos related diseases:
Asbestosis – A scarring of the lung tissue from an acid produced by the body's
attempt to dissolve the fibers. The scarring may eventually become so severe that
the lungs can no longer function. The latency period (the time it takes for the
disease to develop) is often 10-20 years.
Mesothelioma – A cancer of the mesothelial lining of the lungs and the chest
cavity, the peritoneum (abdominal cavity) or the pericardium (a sac surrounding
the heart). It is believed that mesothelioma is caused by generation of reactive
oxygen species (ROS) by the asbestos fibers. Asbestos exposure is linked to at
least 50% of patients developing malignant mesothelioma. Malignant
mesothelioma has a peak incidence 35-45 years after asbestos exposure. Median
survival for patients with malignant mesothelioma is 11 months. Asbestos has a
synergistic effect with tobacco smoking in the causation of pleural mesothelioma.
Cancer – Lung cancer has been linked to asbestos. Asbestos exposure alone
can cause lung cancer, but asbestos exposure and tobacco smoking have a
synergistic effect, greatly increasing the chances of contracting lung cancer.
Cancer of the larynx has been linked to asbestos. Some studies suggest that
asbestos exposure is linked to a slightly increased risk of stomach, pharyngeal,
and colorectal cancer.
The Environmental Working Group Auction Fund has estimated that in the United
States, about 9,900 people die each year of asbestos-related diseases, such as
mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer.
All forms of asbestos are fibrillar in
that they are composed of fibers
with widths less than 1 micrometer
that occur in bundles and have long
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|Asbestos: a naturally occurring mined
Hand-held friable asbestos
debris may appear much like
the photo below when magnified
beneath a microscope.
|Colorado Asbestos, Molds, Toxins and other Environmental Hazards have been our
business for years.
We certainly welcome the opportunity to be of service to you.
Asbestos ceiling textures can easily be
disturbed, therefore causing the potential to
asbestos fiber releases.
Asbestos duct wrap
should be kept
undisturbed and in
removed by a
Exterior asbestos siding should be
removed by a State licensed
General Abatement Contractor.