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ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
ASBESTOS-FREE INSULATION MATERIALS
ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN buildings
ASBESTOS MATERIAL REGULATIONS Update
ASBESTOS MATERIAL REGULATIONS, OSHA
Asbestos Removal, Certification
CEILING FINISHES INTERIOR
CEILINGS, DROP or SUSPENDED PANEL
CEILINGS, PLASTER TYPES
CHINESE DRYWALL HAZARDS
EFFLORESCENCE, Salts & White / Brown Deposits
FLOOR TILE HISTORY & INGREDIENTS
FLOOR TILES ASBESTOS
FLOOR TYPES & DEFECTS
HOUSE DOCTOR, how-to be
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
INSULATION IDENTIFICATION GUIDE
METAL LATH, PLASTER & STUCCO
Museum Artifact Preservation
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
PLASTER & BEAVERBOARD & DRYWALL
PLASTER TYPE IDENTIFICATION
SAFETY HAZARDS & INSPECTIONS
STUCCO WALL METHODS & INSTALLATION
VINYL CHLORIDE HEALTH INFO
Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs
World Trade Center Collapse Dust Photos
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.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
PHOTO GUIDE to ASBESTOS MATERIALS - List & Photographs of Asbestos-containing Materials used in buildings, Homes, Appliances, Products, and industry
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 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.
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 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.
See ASBESTOS REGULATION Update for details and then see EPA Asbestos Materials Bans: Clarification 1999 - 2003 clarification for a description of what asbestos-containing materials are currently banned or not banned in the U.S.
ASTM D299-52 numbered types of asbestos yarn, for example. Asbestos textiles were further described (and represented by identifying digits) by cut, number of plies, and amount of metallic strand in the fabric. "Cut" for asbestos fabrics was calculated as (grain weight of 100 yards of a single yarn) / 7000 grains. "Plies" in asbestos yarn refers to the number of asbestos yarn strands twisted together. ASTM D677-50 pertained to woven asbestos cloth. ASTM D577-52 provided methods for testing asbestos cloth for heat resistance.
Here is a list of typical uses of asbestos in textiles:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how to identify asbestos-containing materials in or around buildings
Some Places to Look for Asbestos Material in a Piano
Question: reader comments on testing for asbestos
Pays to consult an expert, siding & walls to sewing thread. I cant tell the difference. Better safe than sorry. Life is far more important than dollars. - Karen 5/27/11
We agree that in particular if faced with a possibly costly asbestos remediation cleanup, the only proper way to proceed is to use qualified experts.
Question: Has asbestos been banned completely?
Has asbestos been banned? - Todd
No, Todd, there has not been a comprehensive ban on asbestos in North America.
Follow-up: reader comment:
I reviewed your "Asbestos Materials Regulations" section as well as your "Asbestos Regulation Update" as suggested.
EPA has no existing bans on most other asbestos-containing products or uses
1) Spray applied Surfacing >1% and not encapsulated,
2)wet applied and pre-formed pipe insulation, and pre-formed block insulation on boilers and hot water tanks,
3) Corrugated paper, rollboard, commercial paper, specialty paper, flooring felt, and new uses.
Quite so Todd, it's been interesting to monitor changes in government and other agency language about asbestos as political climate in the U.S. has changed. However you are misinterpreting the very data you cite.
For example, asbestos heating pipe insulation was widely used in and remains present in many thousands of homes in the U.S. and in many cases remains not encapsulated (items 1 and 2 in the text you quote).
Item 3 in the text you quote is also found wrapped on heating and plumbing pipes and has been found in the air plenum of some older furnaces, as well as in in specialty paper found on heating air ducts.
Question: [Reader comments]
Thanks very much for the articles and the resources re: asbestos containing materials. They have been most useful and informative. I am wondering if you can specifically address the possibility that bricks and mortar used for fireplace hearths and exterior siding, etc. in the mid-1960's contain asbestos. I contacted my local waste recycling facilities and was told that bricks and mortar are very likely to contain asbestos. Thanks in advance for your response. - Mike Canada 11/14/2011
Fantastic article, most helpful. Thank you. - Angelina 1/5/2012
Thanks Angelina and Mike - we work hard to make our information clear and accurate and without bias, but of course we are thrilled when we hear that you found it useful. We welcome questions about content or clarity.
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
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
Question: Asbestos used in automobile under-coatings such as Mercedes?
Amazing. Thanks for the enlightenment....hard to believe we can "escape" asbestos exposure. I have recently come into contact with automobile undercoating fibers from a wire wheel cleaning.....do you know if/where I can find info about whether or not Mercedes-Benz used asbestos in their auto undercoatings, specifically on a 1972 300SEL 4.5?....Would REALLY appreciate this information. Thanks again. - Steve Lambiris 2/28/2012
Have you tried contacting Mercedes Benz? - Ray Tupper 5/9/12
Steve. Ray makes a good suggestion, but you may find that manufacturers are touchy about providing information that might scare customers or invite litigation
Question: Asbestos on or in an antique Alpha sewing machine?
Hello guys, this is a very interesting resource! I was wondering if I could ask a question? I acquired an antique alpha brand sewing machine from the 1950's/60's When I received it I was aware that the foot pedal and motor contained Asbestos and so quickly and safely replaced these parts.
However, last night Of the machines main chassis broke off and I noticed that underneath the Machines laminated/ enamel like surface there was a material which looked Like concrete with glittery speckles, is it possible that I could have been exposed to Asbestos from within this part of the machine? - Scott 5/2/12
Scott that's an interesting question, thanks. But I don't have a clear idea of just what parts you are discussing. Certainly if you are describing a cast iron chassis, asbestos would not have been included inside the cast iron. Perhaps you can send us some photographs of the machine and its broken part?
Questions & answers or comments about identifying asbestos containing materials and products
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