Asbestos Abatement

What is Asbestos and why is it dangerous?

Asbestos is a generic name given to six fibrous minerals that have been used in commercial products. The six types of asbestos are chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite asbestos, tremolite asbestos, and actinolite asbestos. Several properties that make asbestos so versatile and cost effective are high tensile strength, chemical and thermal stability, high flexibility, low electrical conductivity, and large surface area. The leading domestic markets are roofing products, gaskets, and friction products. Nearly all of the asbestos produced worldwide is chrysotile.

Asbestos became a popular commercial product to manufacturers and builders in the early 1900’s to the 1970’s. Asbestos is durable, fire retardant, resists corrosion, and insulates well. It is estimated that 3,000 different types of commercial products contain some amount of asbestos. The use of asbestos ranges from paper products and brake linings to floor tiles and thermal insulation. When mined and processed, asbestos is typically separated into very thin fibers. When these fibers are present in the air, they are normally invisible to the naked eye. Asbestos fibers are commonly mixed during processing with a material which binds them together so that they can be used in many different products. Because these fibers are so small and light, they may remain in an airborne state for many hours if they are released from the asbestos containing material (ACM) in any facility.

Intact and undisturbed ACM does not pose a health risk. Asbestos becomes a problem when, due to damage, disturbance, or deterioration over time, the binding material releases fibers into the air. Asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems. If inhaled over time (Chronic), these tiny fibers can impair normal lung functions, and increase the risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma, or asbestosis. It could take anywhere from 20 to 30 years after the first exposure for symptoms to occur. Workers who held jobs in industries such as shipbuilding, mining, milling, concrete, and fabrication have experienced severe health problems from long-term exposures. For reasons such as these any questions about asbestos should be taken seriously and investigated by a professional immediately. Proper asbestos abatement or removal processes can prevent serious health concerns should asbestos particles be found present.

The health risks associated with asbestos have been known for years, but asbestos is still everywhere in products all around us; in floor tiles, steam pipes, gaskets, heating ducts, cement products, paper products, shingles and siding, to name but a few. In most instances, the asbestos is not harmful if the integrity of the material is still in tact, however, as this material ages and is subjected to normal wear and tear, the asbestos fibers can be released into the air, to be breathed into lungs that will never be rid of those fibers again.

Because there is no acute effect from breathing in asbestos, health effects are seen only over time. The truth is, there is no mundane exposure to asbestos. If you suspect or just want to make sure about your potential risks, Southern Environmental Services, Inc. (SESI) can assess your situation as well as prescribe and execute a detailed containment and remediation plan designed for your specific needs. We have over 20 years of experience on asbestos abatement and removal projects ranging from single-family homes to government buildings and corporate offices. SESI is your best defense against asbestos and it’s potential hazards.