How do I recognize asbestos?

A gavel and a justice scale

This blog has a lot of information on asbestos and the aliments that are caused by it. Though, even after reading many of our blogs, one may wonder how to recognize it. But, depending on the situation, it may just be a better idea to just assume the item contains asbestos and treat it as such.

A brief history

Asbestos, meaning inextinguishable in Greek, is so aptly named because it is extremely fire-resistant. Along with its fire-resistant properties, it has great thermal and acoustic insulation properties, and as it is inexpensive, it was an extensively used construction material throughout the 1940s through the 1970s. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure can cause various forms of lung disease and various types of cancers.

Where is it found?

Unfortunately, it can be found in just about anything made pre-1980s. This includes insulation on pipes and boilers, attic insulation, floor tiles, glue (for vinyl, wood, concrete, etc.), linoleum, caulking and glazing, roofing materials, duct insulation, siding, plaster, paint, etc.

Do not take the chance

The older these items are (pre-1980s), the best course of action is to assume it has asbestos in it. This is because to confirm that the product contains asbestos requires professional inspection, careful sample collection and then testing and analysis.

Though, if the product is in good condition, it is not dangerous. Asbestos only becomes a problem when it is unstable and particles are allowed to enter and damage the lungs. And, if our Seattle, Washington, readers worked with these materials prior to the 1980’s, it is likely safe to assume asbestos exposure occurred. If lung issues subsequently occur, even today, this is when professional help should be sought.

Contact The Firm

Representing asbestos and mesothelioma clients throughout the Northwest.

520 Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98101

1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204

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