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Asbestos that can often be safely left in place: this article illustrates asbestos insulating and other products which are in good condition and discusses what to do
about the asbestos material in that case.
This document assists building buyers, owners or inspectors who need to identify asbestos materials (or probable-asbestos) in buildings by simple
visual inspection. We provide photographs and descriptive text of asbestos insulation and other asbestos-containing products
to permit identification of definite, probable, or possible asbestos materials in buildings.
Examples of Visually-recognizable Asbestos Materials in Buildings that are in Good Condition and may be able to remain in place
While an expert lab test using polarized light microscopy may be needed to identify the specific type of
asbestos fiber, or to identify the presence of asbestos in air or dust samples, many asbestos-containing building products
not only are obvious and easy to recognize, but since there were not other look-alike products that were not asbestos, a visual identification of this material can be virtually a certainty in many cases.
The ceiling tiles at left may contain asbestos. They are in good condition and are not subject to mechanical damage by the occupants of the building.
If these ceiling tiles are to be removed, the demolition could release high levels of asbestos fibers - appropriate asbestos removal procedures would be wise.
Also see ASBESTOS DUCTS, HVAC a field identification guide to
visual detection of asbestos in and on heating and cooling system ducts and flue vents.
When asbestos pipe insulation is in good, un-damaged condition like this, and when it is found in an area not subject to mechanical damage,
current advice is to leave this material alone.
However where this material was used on heating or other plumbing pipes, there remains the possibility that
some of it will eventually have to be disturbed and removed when leaks occur and repairs to the piping are necessary.
Leaks in heating pipes should occur
less often than in other plumbing lines, so this risk may be pretty small.
Use of asbestos for pipe coverings has been banned in the U.S. since 1975.
This ceiling fireproofing used in an office building basement storage area was readily identified as tremolite and was considered hazardous even though it was in good condition.
This product was quite friable, subject to being disturbed by ongoing work in the area, and needed professional asbestos removal.
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Questions & answers or comments about when asbestos materials can or should be left alone & how to recognize asbestos materials that are undamaged and in good condition.
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June 1997 - Window Putty - OSHA case cites contractor for asbestos exposure during removal of window putty http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=1091
Asbestos Identification and Testing References
Asbestos Identification, Walter C.McCrone, McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, IL.1987 ISBN 0-904962-11-3. Dr. McCrone literally "wrote the book" on asbestos identification procedures which formed
the basis for current work by asbestos identification laboratories.
Stanton, .F., et al., National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 506: 143-151
Pott, F., Staub-Reinhalf Luft 38, 486-490 (1978) cited by McCrone
Asbestos in Your Home U.S. EPA, Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
Asbestos products and their history and use in various building materials such as asphalt and vinyl flooring includes discussion which draws on Asbestos, Its Industrial Applications, D.V. Rosato, engineering consultant, Newton, MA, Reinhold Publishing, 1959 Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 59-12535 (out of print, text and images available at InspectAPedia.com).
"Handling Asbestos-Containing roofing material - an update", Carl Good, NRCA Associate Executive Director, Professional Roofing, February 1992, p. 38-43
EPA Guidance for Controlling Asbestos-Containing Materials in buildings, NIAST, National Institute on Abatement Sciences & Technology, [republishing EPA public documents] 1985 ed., Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.