October 25, 2011

Friable Asbestos: The Real Culprit Behind Your Symptoms

In any discussion concerning asbestos and the physical symptoms that can be developed from it we need to understand what is mean't by the term friable. Asbestos is said to be "friable" when it is dry it can be crushed or pulverized thus reducing the mineral into a powderized state. The real danger that occurs when asbestos is crushed is that it can easily become air born. Once the tiny fibers of asbestos are air born they can be inhaled into the lungs and once in the lungs the whole chain of events begins to unfold which can lead to scarring, asbestosis and even mesothelioma.
What are some examples of friable asbestos?
Some common examples of friable asbestos products would be acoustic ceiling tiles, many types of plaster and wall board, sprayed on insulation on boilder pipes, insulation inside of boilers, insulation inside of hotwater heaters and many more. These items can all be pulverized and reduced to a powder that can easily become air born. A good example of non-friable asbestos would be vinyl floor tiles and asbestos siding and some shingles. Floor tiling is a product that often contains asbestos but as long as it is not sawn, ground or sanded it remains incapsulated and consequently remains non-friable.
What should I do if I encounter a material that I suspect may contain friable asbestos?
The first thing that you should do if you suspect the presence of asbestos is to have a sample of the product tested at an EPA approved asbestos lab. Once you have sent in your sample and it has been found to contain asbestos you should then use this same site to locate a professional asbestos abatement company. This is no job for the unlearned or naive. Once a material is determined to be friable it is labeled as regulated asbestos containing material (RACM). The safest way to deal with it is to let the professionals handle the removal. The cost of inhaling friable asbestos fibers is too high to take chances with your health. It is worth a little extra money to avoid serious asbestos symptoms.