Cement asbestos roof shingles (C) Daniel Friedman Master Photo Guide to Asbestos-containing Products & Materials

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Asbestos product photo guide:

This article provides a photo guide to and list of asbestos-containing products & materials, and links to detailed articles about individual asbestos-containing products & materials found in buildings and in a wide range of products used in both home and industry.

We include photographs of a very wide range of examples of asbestos-containing products & materials found on or in or around buildings as well as other ACM products.

We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.

PHOTO GUIDE to ASBESTOS MATERIALS - List & Photographs of Asbestos-containing Materials used in buildings, Homes, Appliances, Products, and industry

Vermiculite insulation in this attic ceiling may contain asbestos fibers.

Here is our extensive list of the many forms in which asbestos was used. This list includes photographs of asbestos-containing materials and our links to more detailed articles about individual asbestos-containing products where you will find more photographs or descriptions of these materials.

These asbestos and asbestos-containing product photographs can assist in recognizing possible asbestos-containing materials, especially in old buildings, mechanical systems, or in old equipment. We include links to detailed articles about these individual asbestos-containing products.

Asbestos was banned in all home construction uses beginning in 1990, but beware: pre-1990 products might have been used in some homes built shortly afterwards.

Low asbestos risk in some materials: One should note that some of these products contain such small amounts of asbestos, or asbestos in forms not easily converted to airborne fibers (non-friable), that the risk from the product is likely to be very small. One might elect to dispose of an old asbestos-containing toaster, but not to hire an environmental test firm or asbestos abatement company for that procedure.

Many other asbestos-containing products, both historic and among some current products, encapsulate the asbestos fibers in cementious or resinous materials which minimize the possible release of asbestos fibers into the air.

Note: most of the uses of asbestos listed here are obsolete and the products mentioned have not been manufactured for quite some time. However these products may still be encountered, particularly in older buildings and among old consumer products.

However some current materials may contain and are permitted to contain asbestos. In May 1999 Asbestos Materials Bans Clarification was issued by the U.S. EPA clarified that there are some categories of asbestos-containing products that are NOT subject to a ban.

For example, the Asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, or NESHAP) rules issued in November, 1990 prohibits spray-on application of materials containing more than 1% asbestos to buildings, structures, pipes, and conduits unless the material is encapsulated with a bituminous or resinous binder during spraying and the materials are not friable after drying. [Italics inserted by -DF]. Thanks to Susan Kimball, Argus Pacific, for this clarification.

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.

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.

This document and other asbestos identification articles given here aid building buyers, owners or inspectors who need to identify asbestos materials (or probable-asbestos) in buildings by simple visual inspection. We provide photographs of asbestos containing materials and descriptive text of asbestos insulation and other asbestos-containing products to permit identification of definite, probable, or possible asbestos materials in buildings. Readers should also see our master list of asbestos containing products and materials found at ASBESTOS LIST of PRODUCTS. Contact Us to add items and photographs to this list of asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos Hazard Basics

See ASBESTOS REGULATION Update for details

and then see EPA ASBESTOS MATERIALS BAN: CLARIFICATION 1999 - 2003 clarification for a description of what asbestos-containing materials are currently banned or not banned in the U.S.

Asbestos Product Pictures - Alphabetic List of Uses of Asbestos

Asbestos mural base at Grand Central Terminal in New York City (C) D Friedman (Rosato)

Rosato's photo shows asbestos cement sheets that were used to line the arched ceiling in Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The asbestos sheets served as a base for painting a mural of the heavens.

Asbestos automobile part (C) Daniel Friedman, Rosato, Houston

Vermiculite insulation in this attic ceiling may contain asbestos fibers. Vermiculite insulation in this attic ceiling may contain asbestos fibers.

A client brought in some shaft bearings from a 78” butterfly valve installed in [a commercial facility] in Australia. They were full of chrysotile asbestos. I had previously never heard of asbestos being used in this way and couldn’t see any reference to it on your site so I thought I would drop a line with a photo. These bearings are approximately 21cm diameter and 13cm wide. (The second picture of the valve at above-right is just a generic butterfly valve to indicate where the bearings were located in the valve.) - D.M. 3/12/2013

Vermiculite insulation in this attic ceiling may contain asbestos fibers.

Asbestos containing acoustic ceiling tiles

Tremolite asbestos on a ceiling

Textured popcorn ceiling paint (C) Daniel Friedman

Cement asbestos roof shingles (C) Daniel Friedman

Asbestos millboard (C) Daniel Friedman

Asbestos millboard (photo at left) used for stoves and heaters, in garages, as fireproof wallboard, as gaskets, as washers in electrical applications, stove mats, safes, motion picture booths, automobile hoods. Asbestos millboard is a cementious product that was produced in sheets and used for fire barriers and in other applications.

The material is quite similar to cement asbestos roof shingles and siding, and was produced in sheets of varying thickness (typically 1/8"- 1/4") and dimension depending on its intended use.

Asbestos millboard was used as a fire barrier behind and over and around wood stoves, coal stoves, & heating appliances in buildings up to 1978. It was also used in some locations where a moisture-resistant building material was desire. Also see Asbestos cement flat sheets.

Asbestos millboard fragment (C) Daniel Friedman Drywall layers (C) Daniel Friedman

Comparing drywall, plasterboard, and cement asbestos millboard

Above we illustrate a fragment of cement asbestos millboard that is about 1/8" thick and his hard - cementious, and at above right we take a look at the edges of two layers of drywall or plasterboard in an older home - showing that that material, principally made of gypsum, is comparatively soft, paper-faced, and easily cut with a knife.

Asbestos clutch and brake parts (C) Daniel Friedman - Rosato

Note that older drywall products and drywall joint compound often also contained asbestos.


Philips cooling towers using asbestos components  - at

Drywall layers (C) Daniel Friedman

Asbestos duct vibratin damper (C) Daniel Friedman

Photograph of  asbestos paper wrap on heating/cooling duct exterior

Theater wiring possibly containing asbestos Asbestos filter (C) Daniel Friedman - Rosato

Details are at ASBESTOS FILTERS.

Asbestos fire log (C) Daniel Friedman

Photograph of  asbestos slab ceiling insulation, tremolite asbestos

Asbestos fire suit (C) Daniel Friedman Mine Safety Appliances Rosato

Asbestos floor tiles (C) Daniel Friedman

Asbestos braided rope and packing (C) D Friedman (Rosato)

Asbestos on heating boiler (C) Daniel Friedman

Asbestos appliance handle (C) Daniel Friedman - Rosato - Dominion

Asbestos fire hose or flue hose (C) Daniel Friedman, Rosato, Gates

Spray on fireproofing on steel construction DF 2008

Asbestos-containing ornaments - Glaser's patent (C)

Photograph of  asbestos paper wrap on heating/cooling duct exterior

Asbestos paper used for a wide range of applications including in roofing products, filing cabinet liners, soldiers helmets, armored car roofs, welding applications, boiler jackets, gaskets, motor parts.

Asbestos pipe insulation in bad shape (C) Daniel Friedman

Below: fragments of white cloth/paper tape and white sealant cement closed the connection of this rusted flue vent connector ("stack pipe") into the base of a stone chimney in a New York home that was built in 1870.

Chrysotile asbestos in cement used to seal flue to chimney (C) InspectAPedia PH

The homeowner had a sample of the sealant at this metal flue-to-chimney tested the white sealant cement for asbestos and reported:

Just to update you ... The insulation around the pipe [referring to a white sealant paste around the connection of a flue vent connector to a masonry chimney] was 40% Chrysotile. - Anon [by private email] 2015/12/22

Transite plumbing vent (C) Daniel Friedman

Photo of tranite cement-asbestos material used for air ducts and for heating vents (C) Daniel Friedman

Vanguard rocket photo with asbestos (C) Daniel Friedman - Rosato

Asbestos Used In Pianos

Starr piano keyboard © D Friedman at

Reader Question: Did the Starr Piano company use any asbestos in any part / parts in there Star Remington Model?


Certainly where asbestos is a general concern, an inspection onsite by an expert will provide far more assurance about asbestos risks than we can provide by web discussion. That said:

Asbestos was used in some piano padding. I have not found a referral to asbestos specifically used within pianos themselves. However it wouldn't surprise me if pianos made for humid climates didn't use asbestos millboard for some component parts.

Details about the use of asbestos in pianos are found at see ASBESTOS in PIANOS

Asbestos window putty (C) Daniel Friedman

Photo of cement asbestos roof shingles (C) Daniel Friedman Photo of cement asbestos roof shingles (C) Daniel Friedman

Asbestos Sheet Packing (C) Daniel Friedman - Rosato

Asbestos wall siding (C) Daniel Friedman

Transite pipe being made (C) D Friedman (Rosato)

Asbestos wallboard in a theater (C) D Friedman (Rosato)

Steel casement windows with asbetsos window putty (C) Daniel Friedman

Here is a closeup photo of asbestos-containing window putty from the 1950's vintage steel casement windows shown at left. This putty was tested and confirmed to contain asbestos fibers and filler.

If the window putty is cracked, drilled, sanded, or otherwise disturbed, it could result in the release of asbestos fibers into the air that could present a health risk. OSHA has cited contractors for exposing workers to asbestos during window renovations (June 1997) Window putty is normally on the exterior of windows: it is unlikely that it will release measurable levels of asbestos fibers indoors except during remodeling or demolition.

Based on their age, we would have guessed that the steel casement windows shown in our photo (above left) included both lead paint and asbestos-containing window putty. Lab tests confirmed that the window putty contained asbestos. The building owner was able to significantly reduce the cost of removing this asbestos material by having the contractor remove the entire windows intact rather than attempting to remove every inch of putty from the frames. The windows were replaced with newer more energy-efficient units.

Reader Question: I want to work on my heating equipment - does it contain asbestos?

Thank you for your website. I would like to do the work on my furnace safely, and knowing if that material contains asbestos would be helpful. - Mark Seashock

Reply: Examples of visibly detected asbestos on heating equipment

Asbestos duct wrap © D Friedman at

Mark, in our articles and photos there are quite a few of asbestos insulation installed on heating equipment, mostly boilers, and I have found asbestos corrugated paper insulation right inside the air plenum some older heating furnaces as well as of course ubiquitous asbestos pipe insulation, and paper duct wrap (photo at left).

Some of these materials are unmistakably asbestos-containing as there were not other look-alike products that did not contain asbestos.

Antique heating boiler © D Friedman at Asbestos duct wrap © D Friedman at

In other cases, such as pipe lagging and plasters used on piping elbows, the material content may be more uncertain. If you are in doubt, do not disturb the material, and don't run a conventional (non-HEPA) vacuum cleaner to clean up dust and debris in the area before you have had an inspection by an expert and/or testing by a certified asbestos testing laboratory.

Our photo (above left) shows a coal-fired heating boiler converted to an oil burner, from which asbestos insulation was almost certainly removed. What about that white cementious plaster sealing the combustion chamber doors? Apparently it was added after the asbestos jacket was removed. Uncertain? Test it. Our photo, above right, shows a traditional asbestos-insulated heating boiler of similar vintage. More details are at


Continue reading at ASBESTOS LIST of PRODUCTS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.



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ASBESTOS PHOTO GUIDE to MATERIALS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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