Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can be identified only through the use of microscopes and is therefore analyzed by testing facilities with the proper equipment. 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.

Where can you find Asbestos?

Naturally occurring asbestos can be naturally found in mineral bands within rock deposits and in 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 naturally occurring asbestos but rather man-made 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 materials related to housing, electrical, and automotive components. Materials considered to potentially contain asbestos are any materials that are not wood, glass, or metal. For more information, visit U.S. EPA’s asbestos website.

Why is asbestos harmful to me?

The inhalation of asbestos into the lungs is actually the inhalation of microscopic fibers. If exposure to the fibers has been continuous, they can build up and cause detrimental health effects to the 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

    A 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. Symptoms: abdominal bloating and pain, chest pain, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, weight loss.

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

Any materials that are not entirely wood, glass, or metal may contain asbestos. The surest ways to determine if you have asbestos products in your household is through product labeling or having the materials sampled by an asbestos specialist. Visit the Ohio Department of Health license search website to find a licensed asbestos hazard abatement contractor.

Should I be concerned with asbestos in my home?

Undisturbed asbestos is not normally a concern in the household. Asbestos will not become airborne unless 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 may be required to hire a professional. Please contact us to find out if your residence may be exempt.

Asbestos Forms, Fact Sheets, and Regulations

Additional Resources