Materials which may contain asbestos


Asbestos is the generic name for a number of mineral fibers found in rock formations. Due to its strength, durability and fire resistance, asbestos has already been used in construction and other industries. In addition, it has been added to various products, notably in the manufacture of insulation and ceiling tiles.

Asbestos is often mixed with other substances, it is very difficult to identify it visually. The only way to know for sure whether asbestos is present is to submit a sample to a duly accredited asbestos laboratory.

What are the risks associated with asbestos?


Health studies indicate that breathing large amounts of asbestos fibers may increase the risk of certain types of lung cancer. However, if the asbestos fibers are properly enclosed in a product, there is no significant health risk. The potential danger arises when asbestos fibers are released, released into the air, and then inhaled.

What are the likely sources of asbestos materials?


Today, few products contain asbestos and these are regulated and properly labeled. Before the 1970s, however, many types of residential building materials and products contained asbestos and were capable of releasing fibers into the air. These materials include:

  • Asbestos-cement roofing, felt roofing, shingles and cladding.
  • Vermiculite attic insulation.
  • Vinyl, asbestos, asphalt and rubber flooring, including the backing and adhesives used to install the floor tiles.
  • Acoustic ceiling tiles containing asbestos.
  • Hot water heating pipes, heating ducts, hot water tanks and boilers insulated with an asbestos blanket or paper tape containing asbestos.
  • Sheet of cement, cardboard and paper used to insulate ovens and wood stoves.
  • Soundproofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and ceilings.
  • Jointing and drywall compounds for walls and ceilings.
  • Textured paints.
  • Door seals in ovens, wood and charcoal stoves.
  • Artificial embers and ashes used in gas fireplaces.
  • Ironing board covers, stove pads and older fireproof gloves.
  • Old models of some hair dryers.
  • Brake pads, brake linings, clutch linings and seals for vehicles.

How to identify asbestos materials?


You cannot identify items that may contain asbestos just by looking at them. The only way to confirm the presence of asbestos is to take several samples of the material and have them tested by a professional. If you suspect asbestos, the safest approach is to treat the material as it is.

What should I do in the presence of asbestos materials?


Do not panic ! Depending on the condition, location and the likelihood of removing or moving asbestos, it is best to do nothing. Asbestos that is properly enclosed and in good condition, that is, there is no risk of fiber being released into the air, should be left as is.

Check the equipment regularly, looking for signs of wear or damage. Do not disturb or touch the material, and make sure that it is not rubbed or struck, or subjected to vibration, extreme airflow or moisture, as this may cause the release of fibers in the air.

If the asbestos material is damaged or you are considering a home improvement project that will affect the asbestos-containing area, contact a professional for effective repair or removal.

For example, a repair made on pipe, furnace or boiler insulation will seal or cover the asbestos. The material will be treated with a sealer that binds the fibers together or will be coated with a coating so that they cannot be released.

Eliminating asbestos is generally the least desirable option, as it poses the greatest risk of releasing fibers into the air and can be very costly. However, if you remodel or the asbestos is badly damaged, removing it is the best choice. This complex and potentially risky procedure should only be undertaken by a qualified professional experienced in the field of asbestos removal.

With regard to asbestos, a potentially dangerous material, it is in your best interest to contact a team of professionals for its elimination and identification. Always keep in mind that sometimes it is best if the asbestos is neither touched nor disturbed. If you suspect there is asbestos in your home, act as if the area is affected and seek expert advice as soon as possible.