What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral material that has been found to have fire-resistant or noncombustible properties. Because of this, many building materials have been made from asbestos. When in good condition, materials containing asbestos don’t pose immediate harm. When the materials begin to break down, or show signs of ware, it is likely time to begin thinking about having your home, business or school tested for asbestos. If the building was built between 1920 and 1989 asbestos was widely used due to its strong bonding ability. After 1989 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began regulating materials containing asbestos.
Public and commercial building owners should keep an inventory of asbestos-containing materials to inform workers, tenants, authorities and contractors.
Where might I find asbestos in the built environment?
Asbestos can most commonly be found in buildings, but also in gas heaters, hair dryers, some clothing and automotive brakes.
Look for cracks, dusty areas and spots where the material seems to be in the process of breaking down and falling apart. You may find asbestos in attic or wall insulation, vinyl flooring tiles, vinyl sheet flooring or adhesives and on certain roofing and siding shingles. It may also appear in textured paint and patching compounds used on the walls or ceilings, or on walls that surround wood burning stoves. Asbestos can also be found in hot water and steam pipe coatings and in oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with insulation.
Although these are common places for asbestos to be found in the built environment, there are many other places where this noncombustible material may have been used in your building or site.
Health Effects of Asbestos Exposure
Modern research has revealed the link between asbestos and certain types of cancer.
Health effects from long-term, unsafe asbestos exposure, is well documented. Asbestos fibers are easily inhaled and carried into the lower regions of the lungs where they can cause fibrotic lung disease (asbestosis) and changes in the lining of the chest cavity (pleura). Long-term inhalation of asbestos fibres also increases the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Other health effects of asbestos exposure are respiratory infections and enlargement of the heart.
People are more likely to experience asbestos-related disorders if they:
- are exposed to high concentrations of asbestos,
- are exposed for longer periods of time, and/or
- are exposed to asbestos more frequently.
At G2 we offer asbestos testing services and carefully analyze samples to determine if our clients have asbestos in their building materials so that they can move forward with having it safely removed. G2 will professionally test for asbestos in your building, home or school. Once conclusive findings have been reported from our certified laboratories, we will provide you with the legal documentation and agency reporting you need for compliance and to begin mitigation.
Asbestos Control and PPE
A control program is necessary when handling or using asbestos-containing material, and G2 can partner with you as you set up an asbestos control program. The overall goal of Asbestos Control is to safely remove the material without releasing the asbestos fibers.
Workers must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) clothing and respirator if the type of work they are doing involves asbestos. If workers require any PPE, employers should establish a PPE program which covers the selection, use and care of respirators and other PPE. G2 can help with PPE equipment and fittings to ensure safety for your employees.
Respirators must be provided for workers working with or near asbestos. The respiratory equipment must be appropriate for the type of operation and the concentration of airborne asbestos.
Respirators must be:
- Properly fitted to the worker.
- Used and maintained according to written procedures established by the employer and are consistent with the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Cleaned, disinfected and inspected after use on a regular basis.
- Inspected and repaired before being used by a worker.
- Stored in a convenient, clean and sanitary location when not in use.
Protective clothing must be provided by the employer and should:
- Be made of a material that does not readily retain nor permit penetration of asbestos fibres.
- Cover the head and body fully, fitting snugly at the ankles, wrists and neck in order to prevent asbestos fibres from reaching the garments and skin under the protective clothing.
- Include suitable footwear.
- Be repaired or replaced if torn.
Contact us at if you suspect that your building is at risk of having asbestos or lead, mold and radon substances that could be compromising your environment. Schedule a consultation appointment today.