Asbestos in all its used forms is rarely found alone, instead often mixed, woven, or baked into other materials. Because of this, the properties of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) vary widely. As it became clear that the inhalation of asbestos had serious health issues including lung damage and cancer, the severity of the ACMs used became vary dependent on how easily those asbestos fibers could become airborne.
Friable vs. Non-Friable Asbestos
Friable is a word that means “easily crumbled.” As such, it describes asbestos materials that can easily release asbestos as they decay or are disturbed. Asbestos insulation is a common culprit, with loose or sprayed asbestos insulation naturally releasing asbestos, something that can greatly increase when disturbed. Low-density asbestos insulated boards and underlays and backings are also common culprits.
Non-friable asbestos is where asbestos is firmly bonded in a matrix of dense materials, meaning that if left undisturbed they pose less of a threat of becoming airborne. Asbestos cement products and vinyl floor tiles are common examples. These materials are usually strong and resilient and are not prone to crumbling or breaking unless damaged or during removal.
Which Asbestos Do I Need to Remove?
The short answer is: all of them. While friable asbestos poses the biggest threat due to its airborne nature, any asbestos in your building – be that a home or a business – will at some point pose a real threat to those around it. Renovation or demolition of part or all of a building can release this asbestos, which is now airborne and a risk to both the workers and those who come into contact with it.
For both safety and to improve the value of your property, asbestos should be removed on sight. If you have an older home or business, it’s vital to get inspected and – in the event any asbestos is discovered – get it removed. Fiber Control, Inc. is a full-service asbestos remediation contractor serving Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Contact us today to learn more about asbestos and get a consultation on your property.