Asbestos material in the form of a tile, panel or board covered by a coat of paint is, still to this day, a sleeper cell assassin! Furthermore, you can’t tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, unless it is labelled.
Although asbestos awareness is much improved in recent years with preventative legislation put in place, it is still important to be armed with the facts, especially if you have exposure issues.
Most products made today do not contain asbestos. Those few products made which do still contain asbestos and could be inhaled are required to be labelled.
However, until the 1970s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos. Common products that might have contained asbestos in the past, and conditions which may release fibres, include:
Steam Pipes, Boilers and Furnace Ducts – Steam Pipes, Boilers and Furnace Ducts may be insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. If damaged, repaired or removed improperly these materials may release asbestos fibres.
Floor Tiles – Asbestos was used in various vinyl, asphalt and rubber floor tiles, vinyl sheet flooring backing and floor tile adhesive. Sanding or scraping when removing floor tiles or sheet may release asbestos fibres.
Cement Sheet, Millboard and Paper – Cement sheet, millboard and paper used as insulation around furnaces and woodburning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibres. So may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling or sawing insulation. Worn seals and door gaskets on furnaces and stoves may also release fibres.
Soundproofing, Decorative Materials and Textured Paints – Sprayed soundproofing or decorative material on walls and ceilings may contain asbestos. Loose, crumbly, or water-damaged material may release fibres. So will sanding, drilling or scraping the material. This includes patching, joint compounds and textured paints.
Asbestos Cement Roofing, Shingles and Siding – Although asbestos cement roofing, shingles and siding all contain asbestos fibres, they are not likely to release asbestos fibres unless sawed, drilled or cut.
Asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma or asbestosis can take many years before serious symptoms start to appear. If you have unexpectedly drilled/sawed into or run a scraper across any of the above materials, or even more seriously, worked for prolonged periods of time in environments that give you good reason to suspect possible exposure, then taking informed asbestos advice with regards any claims process is a must!