Asbestos Products, Suppliers and Manufacturers (Companies)
Asbestos-containing products are majorly used for construction and insulation, but the toxic mineral may also be found in many types of consumer goods. There are regulations for working on asbestos-containing materials in the U.S., but only certain asbestos products are banned.
When Americans are exposed to asbestos today, it is usually through renovation or demolition work on an old building that still contains legacy asbestos products. It less commonly happens to workers at risk of exposure to a handful of new asbestos products that remain legal to import into the U.S.
In 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed a risk evaluation for legal chrysotile asbestos products and found an unreasonable exposure risk to workers handling asbestos diaphragms, sheet gaskets, oilfield brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes and linings, and other vehicle friction materials.
A 2019 rule enacted by the agency states manufacturers must seek government approval before selling discontinued uses of asbestos.
Asbestos Products and Materials
Industries in America used many types of asbestos products for construction, manufacturing and chemical refining from the late 1800s through the 1980s.
Rules and regulations passed from the 1970s through the 1990s minimized the use of asbestos, but did not completely ban it, and lawsuits discouraged companies from carrying on to use the mineral. Asbestos products are still regularly used in nations such as Russia, China, India and Mexico.
Many Americans think within themselves what products are the sources of asbestos today. According to a 2020 report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, chrysotile asbestos is imported into the U.S. solely to make asbestos diaphragms for the chloralkali industry.
The report found unreasonable asbestos exposure risk for workers who handle oilfield brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes, linings and other vehicle friction products, sheet gaskets used in chemical production facilities and gaskets used in other industries.
They also discovered a risk to consumers handling gaskets and aftermarket auto brakes and linings. Asbestos has been currently discovered in contaminated talc products, including baby powder and children’s makeup.
Some old asbestos materials stay in place, including attic insulation or floor tiles in older homes. Some uses of asbestos remain active today, such as old asbestos pipes used for plumbing and laboratory equipment at universities around the country.
Industrial and Commercial Asbestos-Containing Common Products
Industrial and commercial asbestos products were used in a variety of industries by many various types of trade workers , including power generation, oil and gas, construction, automotive repair, plumbing, electricity and chemical production.
Construction workers were exposed when building homes, plumbers are exposed to asbestos pipes and insulation, electricians are exposed while repairing electrical panels and other equipment, and auto mechanics are exposed when changing brakes and clutches. Do-it-yourselfers who perform repairs on older homes and home auto mechanics handling aftermarket brake pads and clutch linings are also at risk of asbestos exposure.
Most Common Asbestos Products:
Some of the most common Asbestos products in the world today are listed below:
Automotive Parts: Brake pads, clutches, hood liners, gaskets and valves contained asbestos.
Tiles: Flooring, ceiling and roofing tiles were commonly made with asbestos. The adhesive used to lay down flooring tiles has also been a source of exposure.
Cement: Asbestos-containing cement was used in building materials because the fibers provided strength without adding much weight. Its insulating and fire-resistant properties also made the mineral an ideal substance to add to cement.
Textiles: Asbestos was used in the production of cloths and garments for its resistance to heat and corrosive elements. Some of the most common textiles included blankets, firefighter suits and rope.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 risk evaluation discovered an unreasonable danger to the health of chloralkai workers who handle raw asbestos to make diaphragms. The asbestos diaphragms work as a filter to produce chlorine and sodium hydroxide. Asbestos reportedly does not end up in the final products, so the agency did not find a threat to consumers.
In February 2021, the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 30% increase in raw chrysotile asbestos importation for the previous year to support the chloralkai industry.
The use of asbestos-containing products stretched across a number of industries. Most of the products could be categorized as either construction or automotive materials.
Industrial And Commercial Asbestos Products:
- Automotive parts
- Construction mastics & gunning mix
- Duct connectors
- Electrical components
- Laboratory equipment
- Cement sheets
- Vinyl products
Home and Consumer Asbestos-Containing Common Products
Consumers, homeowners and do-it-yourselfers have been exposed to asbestos in consumer goods and home building materials. Current DIY projects in older homes present an exposure danger to homeowners today. Do-it-yourselfers who installed their own insulation and flooring before the 1990s faced a maximum risk of dangerous asbestos exposure.
Consumers of makeup are at danger of exposure to asbestos through contaminated talc products. Unfortunately, asbestos has been detected in children’s makeup in recent years. It has also appeared in children’s toys, including crayons, clay and a fingerprint kit.
Home And Consumer Asbestos Products:
- Cigarette filters
- Ashtray coasters
- Wicking for gas ranges
- Fake snow
- Hair dryers
- Talcum powder
- Zonolite insulation
Uses Of Asbestos
Asbestos was used for its capability to strengthen and fireproof materials, including concrete, bricks, fireplace cement, pipes and insulation. Despite the fact that the use of asbestos has been widely eliminated since the 1980s, it can still be discovered in products such as gaskets and brake pads.
Until the 1800s, people mainly used asbestos to produce fireproof cloth in small amounts. Then, during the Industrial Revolution, large requirement arose for a material that could insulate steam engines. At the same time, the technology was evolved to easily mine asbestos and combine it with other materials.
During the 20th century, demand for asbestos products was propelled further by the shipbuilding efforts of World War II and the postwar building boom. Many veterans were exposed to asbestos during both their military service and their civilian careers.
By the 1970s, lawsuits were holding asbestos manufacturers responsible for the diseases their products had caused. Workers who in one way or the other got mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis were suing for compensation to cover medical costs and lost wages. Sadly, doctors are still searching for a treatment for every type of asbestos-related disease.
Reasons Asbestos Are Used in Products and Materials
Asbestos has isolated chemical and physical properties that make it strong and resistant to heat and chemical reaction. Its chemical composition makes it less likely to react with other compounds, and the space between its fibers reduces conduction of heat, making it resistant to fire.
PROPERTIES OF ASBESTOS
- Abundant: Asbestos happens naturally in mineral deposits around the world.
- Fibrous: Asbestos ore can be separated into a wooly consistency and then worked like any other type of fiber.
- Durable: Asbestos is resistant to heat, electricity and chemical corrosion.
- Carcinogenic: Microscopic asbestos fibers are not easily broken down by the human body once they are inhaled. Over many years, lodged asbestos fibers can lead to chronic inflammation, buildup of scar tissue and cancer.
Are Asbestos and Asbestos-Containing Products Banned?
Asbestos is not banned in the United States, but it is highly under control. The asbestos industry has powerful lobbying organizations protecting its profits. The toxic mineral is still majorly used in Russia, China, India and Mexico.
Presently, lot of asbestos products are banned in the U.S. through the Clean Air Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act and regulations enacted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, known as the EPA.
The EPA is evaluating legacy uses of asbestos to assess present danger to workers and the general public. It conducted a analysis of present asbestos uses and provide a final rule in 2019 forbidding new asbestos products from entering the market without a good evaluation. This have to do with once-common products such as asbestos plastic, asbestos cement and vinyl asbestos tile.
The agency endeavored to supply a ban on all asbestos products in 1989, but the U.S. Court of Pleads for the Fifth Circuit overturned the ban in 1991 under pressure from industry lobbyists. The EPA was then able to ban six asbestos products at that particular time, and the ruling did not reverse previously banned asbestos materials. Because of this, certain asbestos-containing products, such as gaskets and brake pads, are still sold in America.
By law, these products are not allowed to carry a warning label if they are less than 1% asbestos or if they will not release asbestos fibers during any reasonably foreseeable use. Though asbestos remains legal in the U.S., regulatory organizations control its use and manage its removal from older buildings.
Asbestos-Containing Products Presently Banned in the U.S
The following are list if product containing Asbestos and are currently prohibited or not allowed in the U.S:
- Asbestos flooring felt
- Asbestos paper products, including corrugated, commercial and specialty paper
- Friable asbestos pipe and block insulation
- Spray-on coatings containing more than 1% asbestos
- Asbestos wall compound
- Asbestos fireplace decorations
- Asbestos filters for pharmaceutical manufacturing
- New uses of asbestos from Aug. 25, 1989, forward
Identification Of Asbestos Products
Asbestos Materials Categories:
The Asbestos Materials can be classified into two risk categories which are listed and explained below:
Friable asbestos materials:
Nonfriable asbestos materials:
Understanding the Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos is dangerous because it’s a known carcinogen, and inhaling or ingesting it is linked to mesothelioma, asbestosis and other health problems. Although asbestos isn’t banned fully in the U.S., its use is limited. However, asbestos-containing materials (ACM) still pose a danger to the public because they were common building products in homes, schools and other structures built before the 1980s.
Asbestos abatement involves the identification, removal, repair and encapsulation of materials or products in a structure to remove the risk of exposure to toxic asbestos fibers. It’s best handled by a professional asbestos abatement company.
Common Asbestos-Containing Materials in Buildings
Due to the reason that asbestos doesn’t burn, it was used in many products to resist heat. The “miracle mineral” made these asbestos-containing materials valuable to the building industry.
Reasons for Testing a Structure for Asbestos
Before renovating or demolishing a building or home, the structure should be tested for asbestos because exposure to asbestos fibers might cause health problems. Although asbestos-containing products are generally safe when left undisturbed, they become brittle over time and can crumble. But the popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects has heightened possible asbestos exposure.
Below are examples of structure that should be tested for Asbestos:
- DIY Remodeling Projects
- Natural or Manmade Disasters Disturbed a Building’s Structure
- You Own a Structure Built Before 1980
- Crumbled, Worn or Broken Asbestos-Containing Materials Found in a Building
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Asbestos Products
Question: Where are asbestos products commonly found?
Asbestos in homes is commonly present in the following products:
- Roof shingles
- Floor tiles
Examples of materials that contain asbestos in schools include:
- Ceiling tiles
- Ductwork for heating and cooling systems
Question: Is asbestos still used in products?
Answer: Unfortunately, some asbestos-containing materials, such as brake pads and gaskets, are still being sold in the United States. Manufacturers are not required to warn consumers of asbestos content if the product contains less than 1% asbestos.
Question: What products are made from asbestos?
Common sources of asbestos in home goods include:
- Appliances such as stoves, dryers and coffee pots
- Materials such as fabric and paper products
Examples of talc products containing asbestos in makeup and toys are:
- Amateur crime lab kits
- Children’s makeup products
Asbestos Suppliers and Manufacturers (Companies)
Lot of manufacturers used asbestos insulation in steam engines, piping and locomotives. Plenty of other uses later come up, and companies began putting it in products such as boilers, gaskets, cement, roofing materials and automotive brake pads.
Main suppliers of asbestos-containing products include Johns Manville, National Gypsum Company and Armstrong World Industries. Many companies involved in manufacturing and chemical-refining also relied heavily on asbestos at their facilities.
Increase In The Asbestos Industry
In the late 1800s, American companies, such as Johns-Manville, gathered great wealth by mining, manufacturing and selling asbestos-containing products.
Hundred of years later, evidence showed that Johns-Manville and numerous other companies not only knew about the potentially deadly effects of asbestos exposure but also went to great lengths to hide the information from workers and consumers.
The asbestos industry places corporate earnings over public health and the value of life.
During the middle decades of the 20th century, asbestos materials were common in U.S. industries including shipbuilding, construction, power generation and heavy manufacturing.
But a wave of personal injury claims in the 1970s drove hundreds of asbestos suppliers and companies to liquidation. Overwhelmed by claims against them, they set up asbestos trust funds to cover the costs of current and future lawsuits.
Concerns about the diseases caused by asbestos exposure prompted more than 50 nations, including the entire European Union, to ban or severely restrict asbestos use. Strict U.S. regulations took hold in the 1970s.
Companies That Manufactured And Supplied Asbestos Products
Below are the list of companies that manufactured and supplied Asbestos products in ascending order (alphabetically)
- A.B.B. Lummus Global Inc.
- AC & S
- A.P. Green Industries
- Abex Corporation
- Amatex Corporation
- Armstrong World Industries
- Babcock & Wilcox
- Bell Asbestos Mines
- Bestwall Gypsum
- Borg Warner Company
- Burnham Holdings
- C.E. Thurston & Sons
- CertainTeed Corporation
- Combustion Engineering
- Congoleum Corporation
- Crown Cork and Seal
- Daimler Chrysler
- Dana Corporation
- EaglePicher Industries Inc.
- Ehret Magnesia
- E.J. Bartells Company
- Federal-Mogul Corporation
- Flexitallic Gasket Company
- Ford Motor Company
- Foster Wheeler
- GAF Corporation
- General Electric
- General Motors
- Gold Bond
- H.K. Porter Inc.
- Harbison-Walker Refractories Co.
- Honeywell Heating
- Ingersoll Rand
- J.T. Thorpe Inc.
- John Crane
- Johns Manville
- Johnson & Johnson
- Kaiser Aluminum
- Kelly-Moore Paint Co.
- Kentile Floors
- Leslie Controls, Inc.
- Lincoln Electric
- M.H. Detrick Company
- Malleable Iron Range Company
- Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing
- Mobil Oil Corporation
- National Gypsum
- Nicolet/Keasbey & Mattison
- North American Refractories
- Owens Corning Fiberglass
- Owens Illinois
- Pacor Incorporated
- Pittsburgh Corning
- Plibrico Company
- Porter Hayden Company
- Rapid-American/Philip Carey Manufacturing
- Raybestos Manhattan Raymark Industries
- Republic Powdered Metals
- Rock Wool Manufacturing Co.
- Shook & Fletcher
- Synkoloid Company
- The Flintkote Company
- Union Carbide
- W.R. Grace
- Western MacArthur
- Westinghouse Electric
Asbestos Manufacturing Studies
Despite the fact that asbestos mining has been in existed for thousands of years, it was only during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s that the industry became prosperous. Asbestos’ natural resistance to heat, chemicals and electricity made the fibrous mineral desirable for innumerable industrial applications.
Manufacturers first integrated asbestos insulation into steam engines, piping and locomotives. lot of other uses later pop up, and asbestos manufacturers began putting it in products such as boilers, gaskets, cement, roofing materials and automotive brake pads.
Asbestos Companies Placed Earnings over Safety
By the early 20th century, some asbestos companies realized their primary source of revenue was seriously injuring employees and consumers. But instead of upgrading workplace safety standards, executives disregarded information that would damage their business and reputation.
Internal documents indicate Johns-Manville executives were informed of the risks as early as 1934. The company organized private medical studies on asbestos exposure around this time, and they kept the implication results personal. It was an asbestos cover-up that lasted decades.
Names Of Other Leading Asbestos Manufacturer
In addition to John Manville, below are the names of other Asbestos manufacturers:
- Owens Corning/Fibreboard Corp.
- Raybestos-Manhattan Co.
- National Gypsum Corporation
- W.R. Grace & Co.
- Celotex Corp.
Asbestos use expanded throughout World War II, largely because of military shipbuilding contracts. The U.S. government required U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels use asbestos insulation.
Decades after the war, hundreds of asbestos companies grew and succeeded by integrating asbestos in thousands of industrial and household products.
During the peak era of asbestos consumption, the toxic mineral was incorporated into approximately 3,000 types of products. One of the most major commercial applications was insulation products for construction, shipbuilding and industrial manufacturing.
Countless other types of building materials were produced with asbestos, including ceiling tiles, joint compounds, cement, drywall and roofing materials. To this day, these building products have a maximum potential to deliver toxic fibers into the air during renovation and demolition work.
Asbestos has also been spun into various textile products such as rope, cloth and garments. Shipyard workers who installed asbestos insulation often wore protective gloves and aprons that also contained the dangerous ingredient.
Another leading sector that continues to use asbestos materials is the automotive industry. Many car parts that withstand high temperatures and friction, such as gaskets and brake pads, may still contain some asbestos.
Industries & Occupations
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 125 million people have experienced workplace asbestos exposure worldwide. By far, the most dangerous professions involve mining and processing the mineral. These activities give massive amounts of toxic fibers into the air.
Another industry with high exposure risks is construction. American drywall hangers and insulation workers faced continuous asbestos exposure risks, and many other professions related to carpentry might have been exposed while working at the same site.
Shipyard workers, especially during the World War II era, experienced heavy exposure as well. Asbestos insulation was once a staple aboard seafaring vessels, and the cramped working conditions made its installation especially hazardous. Also at risk were pipefitters, boiler workers and electricians who serviced Navy ships.
Downfall of US Asbestos Industry
By the 1960s, scientists had assembled enough and adequate proof of asbestos’s dangerous effects. A landmark occupational study conducted by Dr. Irving Selikoff in 1964 revealed a clear link between the mineral and various types of cancer.
The research indicated that between 1943 and 1962, a large number of insulation workers died of asbestosis and malignant diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, stomach cancer and colorectal cancer.
More medical evidence came in to bolster Selikoff’s findings, and the outcome was a significant downturn for America’s asbestos industry.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency dealt another blow to the industry with the Clean Air Act of 1970. It set up the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), which set up stringent restrictions on the use of asbestos and other harmful airborne contaminants.
Several new regulations directly affected the industry, specifically companies that milled, sprayed or disposed of asbestos materials. By the late 1970s, many companies began phasing the mineral out of their products.
Asbestos Manufacturing Today
Even with bills and other legislative efforts to prohibit and stop the mining and production of asbestos resounding across the world, the industry continues to thrive. Russia, China and Kazakhstan still mine and sell massive quantities of the toxic mineral on a global scale.
According to a 2011 inventory of more than 60,000 asbestos-laden products, approximately 600 companies and suppliers operated worldwide that year.
Although the U.S. Geological Survey asserts that U.S. asbestos use has fallen 99.9% since 1973, the toxic mineral is not yet banned in the United States. Minimum amounts of chrysotile asbestos remain in different textiles, building materials such as cement, and brake pads and other friction materials.
The U.S. chloralkali industry continues to import asbestos for use in chlorine production, with annual asbestos imports at 750 tons in 2018.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed a risk assessment of current asbestos uses in the U.S. in 2019. The agency is presently working to propose and finalize actions to address risks.
Asbestos Litigation Or Law Suit
Asbestos manufacturers are held responsible for the diseases their products cause because they covered up evidence of the health effects of asbestos and continued exposing workers and consumers.
Former employees are filing litigation or lawsuits against asbestos companies, and so are the workers who used asbestos products on the job. Family members who develop mesothelioma through secondhand exposure are also allowed to file a legal claim.
People with mesothelioma can be compensated through multiple legal options, including trust funds established by asbestos companies that went bankrupt.
Hundreds of thousands of patients and families have sought compensation for sickness caused by the negligence of the asbestos industry. These claims hold the asbestos industry liable for the harm they’ve caused and provide much-needed compensation to cover medical bills and lost wages.
A surprising number of asbestos lawsuits came up over the past half-century, endangering the assets of any company associated with asbestos. According to one report, by 2002 an estimated 730,000 people had filed asbestos-related claims against at least 8,400 corporations.
According to a 2021 KCIC litigation review, there were 3,685 asbestos lawsuit filings in 2020, a 11% decrease from 2019. The majority of filings were related to mesothelioma (1,827 lawsuits), followed by asbestos-related lung cancer (1,484 lawsuits).
Some asbestos litigation or lawsuit has resulted in multimillion-dollar verdicts or out-of-court settlements. When courts find asbestos companies liable for a person’s injury or death, the companies must supply compensation for medical expenses, lost income, loss of consortium and pain and suffering. A qualified mesothelioma lawyer can help patients file a claim for compensation including asbestos trust funds.
Many times courts also demand additional punitive damages from companies to discourage future wrongdoing.
How To Hire An Asbestos Abatement Company
Hiring an asbestos abatement company, and not doing it yourself, is the wisest and safest decision when it comes to removal of asbestos from any residential, commercial or public building. Asbestos abatement companies will properly and adequately test for the toxic mineral, follow solid regulations and processes, and carry the right abatement removal equipment to keep them, others and you safe from exposure.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q) About Asbestos Companies
Question: Is asbestos still manufactured?
Answer: Manufacturers are still developing products containing asbestos, such as gaskets and brake pads. Products containing less than 1% of asbestos are not required to display a warning label to consumers.
Question: What countries have not banned asbestos?
Answer: Countries around the world without an asbestos ban include:
- United States
Question: Can asbestos companies be held accountable for asbestos exposure?
Answer: Asbestos companies are being held responsible for negligence and harm caused by exposing their workers and consumers to toxic substances that cause mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma compensation is available to anyone with a confirmed diagnosis and a history of asbestos exposure.
Safety Tips for Handling Asbestos
Some situations require the removal of asbestos-containing materials. But it may be safer to leave the materials undisturbed or encapsulate them with a sealant. Consult a certified asbestos abatement professional for the best advice.
Some jurisdictions allow homeowners to remove asbestos materials on their own. If you are considering DIY asbestos abatement, remember the following precautions:
- Seal off the work area with plastic sheets and turn off the air conditioning.
- Wear a respirator with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
- Wear disposable coveralls and gloves during asbestos abatement.
- Use a pump sprayer to keep asbestos materials wet and suppress dust at all times.
- Clean the work area with wet wipes or a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
- Dispose of asbestos waste in clearly labeled bags at a landfill that can accept asbestos.
Safe Alternatives to Asbestos
Since the 1980s, manufacturers in the United States have largely slowly get rid of the use of asbestos, relying instead on several safer substitutes.
Polyurethane foam is cheap and effective for insulation. Construction workers can easily apply spray polyurethane foam to insulate and seal.
Amorphous silica fabric is a high-quality cloth woven from nearly pure amorphous silica fibers. Like asbestos, the fibers do not rot or burn.
Cellulose fiber is typically made from cotton, wood pulp, linen or shredded paper that is chemically treated to enhance it properties.
Thermoset plastic flour is made of a mixture of wood fibers and binders, such as egg or gelatin, which is hardened and then finely ground.
The history of asbestos extends back to ancient times, but in the U.S., the toxic mineral had its heyday in the middle decades of the 20th century.
From the beginning of the modern asbestos industry, doctors write down the deadly effects of asbestos exposure in scattered medical reports. As early as the 1930s, business executives also quietly investigated the issue and found that asbestos exposure causes lung disease.
Asbestos companies made huge revenue by selling insulation to shipbuilders during World War II, and they expanded their business further during the postwar building boom. These companies even paid unscrupulous researchers, such as J.C. Wagner, who assisted them deny any responsibility.
Elimination Of Asbestos
Although, the report of new information about asbestos and medical evidence linking the mineral to cancer could no longer be disregarded. Labor unions began to attack back. American companies slowly get rid of most uses of asbestos in the 1980s, but it was too late for the workers who had been handling asbestos products for so long.
Calendar Of Asbestos Events
Late 1800sAsbestos mining became a major industry to supply fibers for industrial products.
1927First known workers’ compensation claim for asbestos-related disease is filed.
1930sAsbestos companies quietly researched health effects and kept results hidden.
1933Johns Manville settles 11 asbestosis lawsuits.
1960sMedical studies confirm asbestos causes mesothelioma.
1973An asbestos insulator won the first major asbestos lawsuit.
Importance Of Asbestos Moderation
If damaged asbestos-containing materials are not properly removed by an asbestos abatement company, they can endanger lives and the lives of people who come into physical contact with asbestos dust, fibers or raw asbestos materials.
Fast Facts About Asbestos:
Inhaling or ingesting asbestos can lead to serious health issues such as mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques and asbestos lung cancer.
About 3,000 people are diagnosed annually with mesothelioma in the U.S. An estimated 10,000 people die annually from some type of asbestos-related disease.
Microscopic asbestos fibers are .01 microns thick (18,000 times thinner than a human hair).
Steps Taken if Asbestos Contamination Is Suspected
The most important first step is to not touch the suspicious materials. Let a professional asbestos abatement company handle the job.
What Should Be Done:
- Keep Children Out of Area
- Limit Activities in the Area
- Call a Licensed Asbestos Abatement Company
What Should Not Be Done:
- Don’t Sweep, Vacuum or Dust Possible Asbestos Debris
- Don’t Remove Suspicious Materials
Tips To Hire an Asbestos Abatement Company
Asbestos abatement companies are not all the same and equal. Some specialty is only in asbestos abatement, while others offer environmental services, demolition services and general contracting services that may include or involve abatement.
Within the U.S., asbestos abatement regulations vary from state to state and city to city, some extend beyond the federal laws that require Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) licensing.
Homeowners are not legally required to use a licensed asbestos abatement company, but it is strongly suggested.
Before hiring an asbestos abatement company, verify its qualifications. Find the one that best suits your demand.
Type of Asbestos Abatement Work
Class I asbestos work:Activities involving the removal of asbestos used to prevent heat loss or gain, surfacing asbestos-containing materials and those suspected of containing asbestos.
Class II asbestos work:Removal of nonthermal asbestos-containing materials such as wallboards, floor tiles and sheeting, roofing and siding shingles and construction mastics.
Class III asbestos work:Repair and maintenance operations of any asbestos-containing materials that will likely be disturbed. This is the type most likely used for removing asbestos.
Workers Are Trained In:
- Pre-Asbestos Abatement Activities
- Work Area Preparation
- Establishing Decontamination Units
- Using Personal Protection (Respirator and Protective Clothing)
- Worker Decontamination Procedures
- Safety Considerations in Abatement Area
- Proper Handling & Disposal of Asbestos Waste
Asbestos Abatement Process
SITE PREPARATIONS FOR ASBESTOS REMOVAL
- Work area established
- HVAC and electrical systems disabled.
- New electrical system installed to power negative air pressure units that avoid contamination of air outside work area.
- Decontamination enclosure systems installed.
- Seal openings with plastic sheeting and duct tape.
- Wet wipe or use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter on nonmovable objects to keep asbestos from becoming airborne.
- Seal immobile items with plastic sheeting and duct tape.
- Cover surface not getting abated with plastic sheeting.
- Post warning signs that read: Danger, Asbestos, Cancer and Lung Disease Hazard, Authorized Personnel Only, Respirators and Protective Clothing Are Required in this Area.
- Clean up using a HEPA vacuum.
- Disposal requires asbestos-containing waste be sealed in leak-tight containers while still wet, then labeled clearly and taken to qualified landfills that have specific requirements for securing the waste and preventing fibers from escaping into the air.
- Vehicles that transport the waste to the landfill have specific requirements and labeling instructions.
Common Asbestos Abatement Equipment
The following are some of the safety tools you might see at the job site:
Asbestos Abatement Costs
Asbestos abatement is costly because of the federal regulations governing the process and protective measures taken to ensure the safety of asbestos abatement workers and the public.
Initial home inspection for asbestos
Complete removal from an average-sized home
Commercial buildings can become multimillion-dollar asbestos abatement projects. For example, before the collapse of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center, estimates were $1 million per floor.
Encapsulating asbestos, which means covering it with a protective barrier to reduce any risk of exposure, can lower abatement costs. Discuss it with the asbestos abatement company before work begins.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q) About Asbestos
Question: What do I need to know about asbestos and diseases such as mesothelioma?
- Asbestos refers to a group of fibrous minerals used to strengthen and fireproof materials.
- When inhaled over long periods of time, asbestos fibers become trapped in the body and cause diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
- More than 50 other countries have banned the use of asbestos, but its use remains legal in the U.S. after a complicated history of legislation and regulation.
- Hiring an asbestos abatement company to remove asbestos from residential and commercial buildings is the safest strategy to keep yourself and others safe.
- Compensation is available for those who have been exposed to asbestos. Mesothelioma lawyers specialize in asbestos litigation and settlements, averaging $1 million to $2.4 million in compensation for lawsuits.
Question: Should I see a doctor if I have been exposed to asbestos?
Answer: You should see a doctor if you start to develop respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms. Tell your doctor about your history of asbestos exposure and ask them to screen you for related diseases. If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is extremely important to get a second opinion from a mesothelioma doctor.
Question: Can I get compensation if I have been exposed to asbestos?
Answer: You are eligible for compensation if you were exposed to asbestos and develop mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis.
Question: Why is asbestos dangerous?
Answer: Asbestos is dangerous because exposure to it is proven to cause cancer and pulmonary diseases. When asbestos products become damaged, they release microscopically thin fibers that become airborne and are easily inhaled.
Long-term exposure puts people at risk of developing mesothelioma, lung, laryngeal and ovarian cancer. Some people develop an incurable pulmonary disease known as asbestosis, which involves progressive scarring of lung tissue. These conditions usually develop decades after exposure first began.