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Important Documents Related to Asbestos Regulations & Urban Development 

Housing Demolition

 

the three asbestos types

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can be identified only through the use of microscopes and is thus analyzed by testing facilities with proper technology. There are 6 different types of asbestos that are regulated: Actinolite, Amosite, Anthophyllite, Chrysotile, Crocidolite, and Tremolite. Asbestos was utilized as a fire retardant, electrical and thermal insulator, thermal and chemical stabilizer, and as a high tensile strengthener to a variety of products.

Image Source: Enviraz (Scotland) Ltd.
Chrysotile (white), Amosite (brown), Crocidolite (blue)

Where can you find Asbestos?

Asbestos can be naturally found in mineral bands within rock deposits. These naturally occurring asbestos (NOA’s) can be found within rocks and soil. Through both chemical, physical, and anthropogenic (human) activities asbestos contained within rock and soil can be released into the air increasing human exposure and inhalation. The largest naturally occurring asbestos deposits occur in Greece, Turkey, Russia, Canada, Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, India, and China.

The majority of the scientific community is not concerned with NOA but rather anthropogenic materials containing asbestos. Due to its desirable properties (fire retardant, electrical and thermal insulator, thermal and chemical stabilizer, and as a high tensile strengthener), asbestos was added to many anthropogenic materials related to housing, electrical, and automotive components. Materials considered having asbestos are any materials not wood, glass, or metal. For more information click here.

Why is asbestos harmful to me?

The inhalation of asbestos is actually the inhalation of microscopic fibers. These fibers reside within the lungs and if exposure to them has been continuous they build up and cause detrimental health effects to ones respiratory system. There are three major health effects:

  • Asbestosis
    • Long-term over exposure of asbestos that causes damage to the tissues of the lungs, hampering the exchange of gases. Length of exposure determines the intensity of the disease. Although this is not a cancerous disease it can contribute to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Symptoms: shortness of breath, cough, tightness in the chest, and chest pain.
  • Lung Cancer
    • The deadliest type of cancer for both sexes. Smoking, high levels of air pollution and asbestos are all contributing factors. Symptoms: persistent cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, loss of appetite and weight, fatigue.
  • Mesothelioma
    • Fairly uncommon cancerous tumor found along the lining of the lungs and chest, abdomen, or heart caused largely due to asbestos. Cases of this rare tumor are found to be increasing worldwide. Sypmtoms: abdominal bloating and pain, chest pain, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, weight loss.

How do I know if I have asbestos in my home?

The only way to be certain a material in your home does not have asbestos is to have access to its label. Any materials that are not wood, glass, or metal do possibly have asbestos. The only sure way to determine if you have asbestos products in your household is to sample it and send it to a specialist. Specialist’s can be found through the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) here or can be obtained via telephone at (301) 975-4016.

Should I be concerned with asbestos in my home?

No, as long as asbestos is undisturbed it cannot be placed in the air unless if the material is damaged (tears, abrasions, water damage) or experiences strong vibrations or air flows. If you want to remove products in your home that contain asbestos it is required to hire a professional.

Further Resources

US EPA

National Cancer Institute

Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry

BBC Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Illegal open burning

 

improper burn material

 

fugitive dust

 

Fugitive Dust















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ARAQMD@schd.org

 

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