Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally as bundles of fibers. These fibers are found in soil and rocks in many parts of the world. They are made mainly of silicon and oxygen, but they also contain other elements. There are 2 main types of asbestos:
- Chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, is the most common type of asbestos in industrial applications. When looked at under the microscope, chrysotile asbestos fibers wrap around themselves in a spiral, which is why this form of asbestos is also called serpentine or curly asbestos.
- Amphibole asbestos fibers are straight and needle-like. There are several types of amphibole fibers, including amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite.
*Both types of asbestos have been linked with cancer.
Asbestos and Building Materials
Asbestos fibers can be useful because they are strong, resistant to heat and to many chemicals, and do not conduct electricity. As a result, asbestos has been used as an insulating material since ancient times. Since the industrial revolution, asbestos has been used to insulate factories, schools, homes, and ships, and to make automobile brake and clutch parts, roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, cement, textiles, and hundreds of other products. More specifically in the joint compound of drywall, which is the most common affected material in regards to mold and water damage. If building materials that contain asbestos (like older insulation and ceiling and floor tiles) begin to decompose over time, asbestos fibers can be found in indoor air and may pose a health threat. There is no health risk if the asbestos is bonded into intact finished products, such as walls and tiles. As long as the material is not damaged or disturbed (for example, by drilling or remodeling), the fibers are not released into the air.
Lead and Asbestos Testing
24/7 Restoration Technicians will have determined what areas were affected, what type of water damage source and if there are any safety concerns. Structures built prior to 1978 will require per California state law – testing by a certified environmental hygienist for lead paint before any cutout of affected materials. Structures built in 1980 or “prior to”, will require both lead and asbestos testing before any cutout of affected materials. Drying may begin while awaiting results.
*In some instances we may require testing regardless depending on variables not limited to – geographical location, popcorn ceilings, residual vct tiles, and /or property management or owners request. We will determine on initial inspection if testing is necessary. If results come back conclusive, we can help in facilitating a certified licensed Asbestos abatement firm to remove the affected area where the mold or water damage occurred.
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