Asbestos heating pipe insulation in poor condition Photographs of Asbestos in Good Condition

  • ASBESTOS in GOOD CONDITION - CONTENTS: How to recognize asbestos materials that are in good condition and that may be best left in place or encapsulated.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs 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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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.

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Examples of Visually-recognizable Asbestos Materials in Buildings that are in Good Condition and may be able to remain in place

Asbestos ceiling tiles in good condition

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.

Also see Micro-Photographs of Dust from the World Trade Center collapse following the 9/11/01 attack. Links to U.S. government and other authoritative research and advice are included.


Photograph of asbestos pipe insulation

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.

Tremolite asbestos on a ceiling

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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