Hindsight is always 20/20. That’s certainly the case with asbestos. Today it’s banned in most first world countries (or in the case of the US, kind of banned). Companies and contractors like ourselves work to safely remove it from homes, businesses, and facilities across the US, following stringent rules and regulations set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by states and counties. But it wasn’t always this way: the legacy of asbestos removal only happened because of the reasons it was sold to construction companies and contractors in the first place.
Asbestos as the “Miracle Mineral”
In its heyday (which stretched from the 1950s through the 1980s), asbestos was used across thousands of products, the longest lasting being construction materials. There were two major factors contributing to asbestos’s success: as a silicate fiber, it‘s many desired material properties, and as a naturally occurring mineral, it was cheap. Some things to keep in mind:
- Asbestos was a good insulator. Both for buildings and for hot water pipes and boilers.
- Asbestos was known for its heat resistance. It was used for fireproofing buildings and chimneys.
- It was mixed with cement. This created heat resistant siding and pipes that were stronger.
- It was a strengthening agent. Found both in vinyl and drywall (also for heat resistance).
- Asbestos had sound-dampening qualities. This made it common in ceiling tiles and popcorn ceilings.
- Health concerns were systematically covered up. This happened as early as the 1930s.
Dealing with ACMs in Buildings
Because of all the above reasons and more, Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) are present in many buildings built before 1990. While it’s important to understand why asbestos was used, it’s equally important to understand how it can impact the health of people living there. Some further reading:
- When Should You Test for Asbestos?
- Asbestos in Your House: A Breakdown Floor by Floor
- Managing Asbestos in the Workplace
- Encapsulate, Remove, or Demolish Asbestos: When to Do Which
If you’re concerned about ACMs being present in your home or business, it’s important to get a consultation from the experts. Fiber Control, Inc. is an asbestos abatement specialist, with years of experience in the field. Reach out to us to get started, and we’ll help you figure out which options are right for you.