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Photograph of  asbestos slab ceiling insulation, tremolite asbestos FAQs on Asbestos-containing Products & Materials in or on Buildings
Questions & answers about asbestos found in buildings or building materials

  • ASBESTOS in BUILDINGS, FAQs - CONTENTS: Photographs illustrate a detailed list of the forms & products in which asbestos was used in thousands of products -a photo guide to identify asbestos-containing products and materials. Asbestos Hazard Basics. Asbestos Product Pictures - Alphabetic List of Uses of Asbestos. How to recognize most asbestos-containing materials in buildings - photographs & information about asbestos-containing materials in or on buildings
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Asbestos in buildings, questions & answers:

This article answers frequently-asked questions about where asbestos is found in building materials, building products, or in appliances or other products found in or on buildings. Our page top photo shows slabs of soft, friable, tremolite asbestos on the basement ceiling of a commercial building in White Plains, NY.

This series article includes 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.



Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2017 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.

FAQs about Asbestos Materials In or On Buildings

Asbestos floor tiles (C) Daniel Friedman[Click to enlarge any image]

At above/left: photo of a vinyl-asbestos floor tile produced by Armstrong Flooring. This is not a friable material and is usually best left in place or perhaps covered-over or sealed. Details are at ASBESTOS FLOORING HAZARD REDUCTION

This Q&A article is a companion to ASBESTOS PHOTO GUIDE to MATERIALS and to our master ASBESTOS LIST of PRODUCTS. For help in recognizing asbestos-containing materials also see ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN BUILDINGS - home

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

Reply:

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.

However for the more general question of whether or not a product may contain asbestos, it's worth noting that some asbestos products are unmistakable by visual inspection while others require an expert qualified asbestos testing lab.

Question: Has asbestos been banned completely?

Has asbestos been banned? - Todd

Reply:

No, Todd, there has not been a comprehensive ban on asbestos in North America.

See ASBESTOS MATERIAL REGULATIONS and ASBESTOS MATERIAL REGULATIONS Update and ASBESTOS MATERIAL REGULATIONS, OSHA for details for legislative citations.

Follow-up: reader comment:

I reviewed your "Asbestos Materials Regulations" section as well as your "Asbestos Regulation Update" as suggested.
But I found no mention of a ban of asbestos in home construction, and actually found the statement issued by the EPA in their 1999 Clarification document,

EPA has no existing bans on most other asbestos-containing products or uses

(other than)

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.
What am I missing?
(Keep in mind I am speaking from a United States perspective, not international.)

Reply:

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.

It might be helpful for you to review the huge list of asbestos containing products.

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

Reply:

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.

Daniel

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

Reply:

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

I have seen quite a few assertions that automotive undercoatings did indeed contain asbestos, including into the early 70's - but what we want is an authoritative citation. I have found one so far - from U. FL, that I have added to the references & citations at the end of this article - see citation # [5], and in an entry above under "Automotive undercoatings". I'll continue to research the topic; What have you observed about automotive undercoating? If the material is as I suspect, a non-hardening coating, most likely any fibers in the substance, asbestos, fiberglass, others, are not ordinarily particularly friable.

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

Reply:

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?

The question of your exposure to asbestos from the case you describe depends not only on any possible asbestos content (asbestos might have appeared on a machine as part of a gasket or liner, for example), but also on the total quantity of asbestos that could have been present, its condition, whether or not it is friable (easily pulverized to dust), how much it was disturbed, and your own duration and proximity of exposure. Frankly it sounds rather dubious to me.

Question: how can I tell the difference between asbestos drywall and asbestos cement board?

Asbestos millboard (C) Daniel Friedman

Above: asbestos cement board or millboard on the walls and ceiling around a heating boiler in a U.S. home.

I have a question about some recent reno work done at my family cottage. The cottage was built in the late fifties and added on to in subsequent years.

Recently, we had a new roof installed. We decided to remove an old oil heater. The roofers removed the chimney pipe. It was quite difficult to get out so they were quite rough handling it.

My question, now that I look at the hole in the ceiling has to do with asbestos drywall. The ceiling tiles are likely asbestos containing but where the pipe had been installed looked like drywall.

I have read about asbestos insulating board and asbestos containing drywall and now am very concerned that there may be asbestos dust. I have read that insulating board has a higher asbestos content than the asbestos drywall, and is therefore more dangerous (40% asbestos in the insulating board?).

Is this true? And how can we tell the difference between insulating board and drywall? I don't see any fibres sticking out at the rough edges, if that makes a difference. I am concerned as we regularly take my 1.5year old son there as well. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Your website has already helped me on many occassions! :-) - B.P. 8/29/2013

Reply:

I'm not familiar with an "asbestos drywall" product, though certainly some drywall and some joint compounds contained asbestos. Drywall is principally a gypsum product, paper covered on both sides, and is comparatively soft - it can be cut with a utility knife or "drywall knife". Drywall is made in thickness from about 1/8" to 5/8".

Cement board or asbestos-cement board is a hard, cementious product, not paper coated, typically thinner (maybe 1/8 to 3/16" thick) and thus not nearly as friable as drywall or drywall compound; But if someone runs a power tool like a saw, grinder, or does a lot of pounding demolition, indeed one might make a dusty mess that could contain asbestos.

Question:

(July 20, 2014) Simon Day said:

I have a Norseman wood burner in my house circa 1970s? I was wondering what the cement like lining inside the burner was made of. Does it contain asbestos?

Question: complaints to our landlord about asbestos in our block of flats

(Mar 12, 2014) mrs d m zaadane said:
it has been brought to my attention recently that there has been a number of complaints to our landlord about asbestos in our block of flats,they where put up in the seventies.does that meant that all our flats have it.

Reply:

Mrs. D.M.Z.

We would like to help with your question but cannot possibly answer it reliably from a simple text query. An investigator cannot say for sure what materials are present or absent in a building about which she knows nothing whatsoever.

But I can suggest that if all of a group of buildings were built to the same design, by the same architect and builder, and around the same time, it's likely that the would have used the same materials. An exception is buildings constructed right around the very time that asbestos use ceased in an area. For example in the original World Trade Center in New York City, the construction of the building spanned the time of cessation of use of asbestos. As a result asbestos fire insulation was used on lower floors but not on upper floors.

Question: asbestos in brown flooring in military buildings?

(Apr 19, 2014) Mrs. J.M.L. said:
Did the dark brown flooring found in military buildings during and post WWII contain asbestos? Thanks for the help.

Reply:

Sorry Mrs. JML, but just from color alone I don't know what material we might be discussing. If you refer to wood-product-based hardboard such as Masonite, that is a wood fiber not an asbestos material. This material was also used on walls - see the article at inspectapedia.com/interiors/Interior_Wall_Covering_Choices.php

Question: asbestos in red brick or mortar? OK to leave old brick or asbestos-mortar exposed?

(May 8, 2014) Doc S said:
Is there cause for concern about potential asbestos in red brick or the mortar used in a brick and mortar fireplace constructed in northern california in the early 1950s? We are doing some modifications to install a fireplace insert, and I want to know whether I should be worried about the dust that grinding/cutting the mortared bricks will produce.

(Sept 17, 2014) Cara said:
Hi there,
we have a brick veneer house built around 1950/1960. I'm wondering whether it's possible that the bricks could contain asbestos?

(May 12, 2015) Joe lapera said:
Can I leave brick exposed if mortar contains asbestos..?.

Reply:

Doc, while asbestos was not a standard ingredient in bricks and mortar it may have been used in some fire bricks or combustion chamber liners. E.g. See inspectapedia.com/hazmat/Asbestos_Other_Products.php where Rosato cites asbestos bricks.

You should use caution in cutting /grinding mortared bricks in any case because of the silica exposure hazard.

Cara

Possible, yes, Probable, no; to determine you'd need to have a sample tested. In a masonry material that is not being ground, sanded, or cut, the level of outdoor airborne particles from the brick would likely be below the limits of detection.

Joe

My answer is OPINION based on what seems rational to me: given that there are not prohibitions about leaving cement asbestos roof shingles nor cement asbestos siding exposed to the weather, I would not expect there to be a prohibition about leaving brick mortar exposed to weather either.

Watch out: by searching InspectApedia for "roof wash asbestos"

I found this article that you'll want to read

inspectapedia.com/roof/Asbestos_Roof_Wash.php

Question: asbestos in old metal work light shade

July 11, 2014) Carole Cornelius said:
I have an old metal work light that has a layer of a white fibrous substance hand molded onto the metal shade, probably in the 60's. Was asbestos sold as a material that a person could hand apply onto something as a heat shield? I want to remove it and keep the lamp but am concerned that this could be asbestos.

Reply:

Carole

While I can't know what's on your lamp from just your text, indeed it is possible that asbestos was used as a heat -resistant material in many lighting fixtures. Or someone might have purchased a "wet kit" (such as used on heating systems) to construct a DIY heatproof shade. It would be prudent to treat the material as presumed asbestos -containing.

Question: asbestos in Danish Modern furniture foam cushioning?

(Aug 16, 2014) JM said:
Hello. We have a 1960s-era Danish-modern chair which has dried-out foam pieces falling from the bottom, both in chunks and in dust form. Does anyone know if asbestos was used in making furniture foam like this?

Reply:

JM

It's unlikely that you'd find asbestos in what you describe as urethane foam cushion material

Question: asbestos in old 1940's ovens?

(Sept 22, 2014) Kehler said:
Do old 1910-1940s ovens contain asbestos inselation and what would it look like?

Reply:

Asbestos insulation may have been used inside the walls of some older ovens as well as many other appliances. it may appear as a fibrous or papery material and would not normally be in view on the inside of the oven.

Asbestos rope may also show up as gasket material.

Question: asbestos in wallboard

Drywall layers (C) Daniel Friedman

(Sept 23, 2014) RS said:
I have some fire resistive gypsum wallboard I've found in my basement that I am wondering if it contains asbestos. It is a National Gypsum product that says it meets astm C 36 standards. Any way to tell if this wallboard contains asbestos? Was that standard created after the time asbestos products were used to make wallboard/drywall?

Reply:

RS

As you don't have a date for the product you would perhaps best have a small sample tested. It's not costly.

See

inspectapedia.com/hazmat/Asbestos_Test_Lab_Lists.php

Question: who can I call to put a fire under my husband?

(Sept 28, 2014) Robin Bednarczyk said:
My husband gutted our entire kitchen FIVE WEEKS AGO, there is no ceiling, no floor except plyboard, no walls, old insulation is exposed all over the open walls and ceiling. Anyway, since he's opened it all up, I've become sick EVERYDAY. I puke no less than 3-4 times daily, I'm tired ALL THE TIME, and my vision is blurry where it WAS 20/20 until he opened everything up and left it that way. I keep staying non him to finish it up and close it up, but he'd rather work OUTSIDE the house.

Anyway, is there anyone I can call to get over here to maybe put a fire under my husband to hurry up and finish? I don't want to get him in trouble, but I don't want to die either, and since he opened up the walls and ceilings five weeks ago, I have felt like I'm dying, and my health is only getting worse - and I don't think he cares. But WHO could I call locally to come over here and look at this mess that my husband won't finish? Is there some sort of code officer or something? Like I said, I don't want to get him in trouble, but I have to get my health up to par again, and if all it takes is a surprise visit from some sort of codes place, then so be it. Maybe if he's issued a ticket or a fine, he'll be more apt to finish, I just don't know WHO to call or HOW to find out WHO to call.

Reply:

I might start with my doctor, or her referral to a marriage counselor.

Question: asbestos in antique oak ice chest

(Oct 6, 2014) Ruth said:
I am refinishing an antique oak ice chest. Under the sidewalls is a layer of black tarpaper substance. Then paper bags full of a white cotton like substance, but is more granular & dusty like. Could it be asbestos?
Should I remove it or just put the refinished pieces back over it?

Reply:

Possibly yes Ruth. Use our email found at the page bottom CONTACT link to send us sme photos and we can comment further. You may be seeing mineral wool or it may be something else.

Question: dense wallboard may be asbestos cement millboard

(Dec 30, 2014) Jake said:
I am installing a wall-mount TV on a wall shared with the boiler room. When looking for studs, a large portion of the wall seems to have a dense layer behind it. When drilling in this area, I cannot drill past the 5/8" sheetrock (something behind sheetrock). Could this be asbestos cement board as a fireproof barrier between the boiler and the other room?

Reply:

Yes. Take a look from the boiler room side.

Question: what replaces asbestos sheets and cloths

Asbestos duct vibratin damper (C) Daniel Friedman(Jan 12, 2015) Larry Cyr said:
What,if any,replacement has been invented or discovered to replace the asbestos sheets and or cloths used to protect floors,walls,pipes,etc.from wood burning stoves(also chimney ducts)?

Reply:

Larry it's an interesting question. There are numerous fire resitant products on the market, but a quick search for fireproof cloth doesn't help much. Current codes rely on a combination of heat shields of other noncombustibles, air space behind the heat shield, and fire cleareance distances that depend on the appliance.

There are different issues, and we're slightly smarter now. Fiber cement products that don't contain asbestos may be just about as fire-resistant, but there are heat conduction, pyrolysis, and other fire ignition issues. Use modern fire clearance distances and a type of insulated chimney that matches your heating appliance.

Shown above/left, asbestos cloth used as the vibration dampener in an older heating system.

See FIREPLACE CHIMNEY ROOF CLEARANCE and see

Question: paper material insulation in 1910 house may contain asbestos

(Feb 7, 2015) Nancy said:
Question. I am starting to renovate a room in my house. The house was built around 1910. The hardwood floors in the room look like they were put in when the house was built, but the cedar siding boards look to be from later. Upon taking off one of the boards I discovered insulation that looks like paper wasp material. It almost feels like paper and the thin sheets are sewn together with a string or thread to make a 2 1/2 to 3 inch thick batting. I've only taking off the one board until I can hopefully find out what kind of insulation this is. I took a photo but don't see a way to upload it and have spent a couple hours looking and reading with no results. Anyone have any ideas on what I'm dealing with? Thank you!

Reply:

Nancy,

Please use our email found at the CONTACT link (page top or bottom) to send me some sharp photos and I'll be glad to comment further and to research as needed; from just your description I don't recognize the insulation.

Question: asbestos in slate fire hearth

(May 15, 2015) Kathy said:
I have an old (30+years) slate fire hearth which is quite heavy, on a cement type base. I want to have it cut smaller. Would it contain asbestos?

Reply:

Thanks for the reminder and apologies for the slow reply - we've been swamped.

Kathy no responsible professional would be able to assure you that an unknown material does or does not contain asbestos from a one-line e-text.

However I can suggest that if you are confident that the material is slate, slate is not an asbestos-containing material.

I'd still watch out, depending on what you are cutting, for the possibility that you are disturbing mortar that might contain asbestos, particularly if used in the construction of the fire-box of a fireplace.

Reader follow-up:

(May 25, 2015) Kathy said:
Thanks for your reply. The hearth was purchased on which to place a slow combustion fire, and is app 1200 x 1100 & 30mm thick. It has an edging all around so cannot see the thickness of slate or base, or what the construction of the base is, but presume the slate is only a surface layer.( I wasn't worried about the slate itself). The base is a whitish colour & obviously a fire retardant material.

These hearths are readily available from wood fire suppliers, and would not contain asbestos now, but being the age it is, I wondered about this one. I would not expect you to categorically say it wouldn't contain asbestos, but thought that one of your colleagues may have knowledge of these from the past. If not, fair enough, and I will contact some suppliers again & ask them to look further into their archives for construction details. Thanks.

Question: asbestos in vintage tapestries or fireplace screens

(Nov 8, 2015) Lisa said:
Is there aspestos in vintage tapestry fireplace screens?
flag like

Reply:

Possibly, Lisa as there were asbestos containing fabrics. Use the page bottom CONTACT link to send some pictures of your screens and I will research the question.

Question: asbestos in poultry house brooders

(Nov 21, 2015) Don said:
I am trying to find the manufacturer of donut brooders for poultry houses in the early 1970 which contained asbestos, can you help? If not where can I find this information? Thanks for any help!

Reply:

Can you use our page bottom CONTACT link to send me photos of the equipment - if you have it? With product images, labels, data tags, we can usually identify the manufacturer and locate them if they're still in business.

Also see:

Question: long brown strands in basement wall paint contain asbestos?

Horsehair in or on plaster (C) InspectApedia.com PH(Dec 7, 2015) Mick said:
Hello,

I have been doing cleanup in my basement and when vacuuming the walls in noticed very long brown strands in the plaster used to coat the walls in the basement. I do have a picture and it a lost looks like chunks of long hair, there are many pieces sticking out all over. Please advise

7 Dec 2015 Anon [by private email] said:

I appreciate your website since I have recently purchased a home built in 1870 that has many additions and upgrades. There are a few areas of concern. One is some white ceiling tiles in the closet. Not sure when addition was done but it has paneling for walls. They are roughly 21x16. White with brown cardboard looking substance in the cracks. The other thing that scared me was the basement. I have attached a picture of the wall containing long fibers. Thanks again. - P.H. by private email

Reply: horse hair, straw, other materials found in plaster

Mick, the photo you sent looks like it may be horsehair or other animal hair in plaster - in the skim coat; usually the hair is in the more coarse scratch coats. You may want to see added resources on identifying hair and fibers at FIBER & HAIR IDENTIFICATION.

Also see PLASTER TYPES & METHODS in BUILDINGS

Where is the building? Were there animals occupying the basement - that is does it open directly to outdoors?

Reader follow-up:

I thought about horsehair and thay is what it felt like. New old house has me paranoid. Thank you so much. I will get some better pictures as well.

And yes I looked through the tile section but couldn't find anything quite like this. And I used my brain and went down with a lighter and lit the fiber, definitely hair so that is a relief! Since it is hair does that normally rule out asbestos due to the timeframe?

After reading that, seeing how this was applied, I guess I should treat it like it contains asbestos and send off for a test? I spent 2 hours dry there vacuuming the broken bits up with just a dusk mask on and a fan going out the window, probably not the best thing to do. I live in up state NY, can you recommend a good affordable place to send samples to?

Reply:

It is safest to treat the material as presumed to contain asbestos; a lab test (See ASBESTOS TESTING LAB LIST) costs about $50. and is worth doing IF there is a large area to be demolished or cleaned-up such that you'd have to hire a professional.

STOP VACUUMING unless you have a HEPA-rated vacuum as IF there is asbestos in the material you're cleaning-up you may be increasing the airborne particle level. Ultra-fine particles pass right through conventional vacuums.

Damp wipe and HEPA vacuum is best.

Reader follow-up:

I have been reading a lot on your site so I appologize if my questions are answered somewhere. I did not see any examples of stone basement walls being completely covered with old plaster. That is what is down there and it is what is in two of my friends basements as well. Boy I wish I hasn't have spent so much time down there vacuuming.

Reply:

Actually your question helps me out: I spent the morning researching for better documentation proving the use of asbestos in plaster, and I added your photo. I've expanded the discussion and added research citations in an article section titled

PLASTER INGREDIENTS, MIX, COMPONENTS

Question: asbestos tape / asbestos cement sealant at chimney?

Asbestos flue vent sealant in an older home (C) InspectApedia.com PH2015/12/09 Anon [by private email] said

It was where the furnace was connected to the chimney with metal piping. We have electric heat in the whole house so it was probably torn out 30 years ago. Inspector had pictures of the piping I'm his report, but failed to mention the tape. Very frustrating because I would have asked that it be removed, and then gotten testing done. Not sure if there is anything I can do now?

This is a picture I snapped from the report. It doesn't show it well.

The tape is near the back, about 6 inches from the wall. I have read that the plaster used on the wall around chimneys can also contain asbestos. You can see it is dry and falling down on the ledge below it and onto the floor . P.H.

Reply:

Looks like flue vent connector into a chimney with perhaps asbestos cement-sealant commonly used at flues and in fire chambers, and perhaps on the outer end of the un-used flue-vent connector, aluminum tape falling off. I would imagine that the seal around the vent connector into the masonry may also contain asbestos. Don't make a dusty mess.

Seems to me you'd want to close off an unused chimney opening for fire and other safety concerns.

Question: How common was asbestos in drywall?

(Dec 10, 2015) Krista said:
How common was asbestos in drywall? Our house was built in 1959 (Pennsylvania), we just replaced a window and I noticed small
fibers in the surrounding drywall. I'm so worried now that we have exposed our children to it!

Reply:

Drywall systems are likely to have contained asbestos from the 1920's or a bit later up through the early 1980's in both the U.S. and Canada (presuming you live in one of those countries). The asbestos in the wall system is principally going to be found in joint compound, joint taping, skim coats, or some asbestos-containing paints. Some experts (cited) assert that the risk of asbestos exposure to occupants in such buildings is negligible and that demoltion, depending on where you live and local regulations, may require normal dust control.

Also see our drywall/asbestos discussion at ASBESTOS PHOTO GUIDE to MATERIALS

Question: asbestos in chair stuffing

(Mar 18, 2016) Jenna said:
I recently got half way through deconstructing a vintage chair to reupholster and realised it may contain asbestos. How do it tell if material / stuffing contains asbestos?

Reply:

Jenna:

You'd start with the age of the chair, but ultimately to be certain you'd send a sample to a test lab. Cost about $50. USD

Question: asbestos in fake subway tile pattern millboard installed in a bathroom?

(Mar 28, 2016) Anonymous said:
Hi - I am trying to replace some walls in a bathroom, in a house c. 1930/1940. You write above of asbestos mill board that it was "in some locations where a moisture-resistant building material was desired."

In my partial demo, I have found that the panel on the lower half of my walls, pressed with a fake subway tile pattern and painted by previous homeowners, seems to be 1/8" grey material with a pretty straight edge along the top where it looks like it's covering crumbling plaster underneath (a chair rail covers the seam). From the visual appearance at the edge, I fear asbestos.

It has a couple of places where a bathroom shelf and toothbrush holder were screwed into the panel, which I removed, and which left holes that look crumbly and white like plater. What do you think? Can I safely screw into it to cover it up (eg with Sheetrock or breadboard, etc.?) Do you think I can cut it back safely? How dangerous is it to work with? Thanks in advance!

Reply:

Hi Anon. I'd like to see photos of the board you describe - try our page bottom CONTACT link to send me some sharp images.

Most likely you're looking at a tile board that was based on cellulose-based hardboard, but I can't know by just e-text.

When in doubt, avoid making a dusty mess - that'd be the hazard. If you can remove sections of material without sawing, sanding, grinding, or breaking up into many pieces the risk of whatever it is is minimized.

Question: do silver particles make asbestos material safe?

(Apr 1, 2016) Jim said:
If a material that looks like asbestos but has silver partials in it is it safe?

Reply:

I don't know, Jim. One can't guess accurately at the safety of the material with just the information you describe.

1. Silver particles would not make asbestos material safe

2. Not everything that looks like asbestos is asbestos

Take a look at VERMICULITE INSULATION, some of which contains asbestos and much of which contains "shiny" or "silvery-looking" particles.

Question: asbestos in cement structural walls in Canada?

2016/04/15 Nick said:
A local restaurant is doing renovations and was built in the 60s in Canada. The outer walls of the building are made of cement. They've been making a new entrance, which involves removing some of the cement. Was asbestos used in entire cement walls, would this be a hazard?

Nick said:
I also have some strands of material coming from the inside ring of the dryer opening on my dryer built in 1984 in Canada. It meets the same description as Vanessa mentioned. Should I be concerned of possible asbestos? Is it likely some other also unwanted material? Thanks

Reply:

Nick: possibly, though in the circumstances you cite it seems unlikely.

Question: asbestos in a front-loading clothes dryer?

2016/04/15 Vanessa said:
Hi. I have a front loading clothes dryer (probably from late 80s) that is getting old and has some form of material coming through around the inside of the door. It's white-gray, flexible, and not rigid. I tried pulling on a couple of the fibers sticking out to break them off but they wouldn't break. I'm assuming it is something they used as insulation. What could this material be?

Reply:

Vanessa: You're welcome to use the page bottom CONTACT link to send me photos of the dryer and material you cite. But it'd be unlikely that a late 1980's clothes dryer sold in the U.S. would still have contained asbestos.

Nick:

I'd like to see photos of the material and of the dryer - use the page bottom CONTACT link.

Keep in mind that lint collects around the lint filter and inside the dryer body and can be rather compacted.

Let's both research where asbestos may have been used in dryers.

Also we need to know the age of the clothes dryer. As I said to Vanessa, a late 1980's appliance sold in North America is not likely to contain asbestos.

(Apr 21, 2016) Nick said:
Were you able to pull up any more information? Thanks

(mod) said:
One of my microscopy teachers Harriet Burge has reported on asbestos sources and discusses clothes dryers but for those appliances mentioned thermophilic actinobacteria rather than asbestos.

Burge, Harriet, and EMLab P&K. Chief Aerobiologist. "Asbestos: Forms and Nomenclature."

A google scholar search finds principally that discussions of asbestos in clothes dryers focuses on the washing and drying of asbestos-contaminated clothing or other textiles. Considering the use of asbestos in various forms as insulators where (partiularly electric) heating elements are used in appliances, I would assume it could be present in older appliances.

Followup: Yes we did research the use of asbestos in clothes dryers and found results now cited in the alphabetical asbestos products list under Asbestos in Appliances found at ASBESTOS LIST of PRODUCTS there you'll see a discussion of asbestos use in clothes dryer belts, insulating felts, and possiblyi around heating elements or systems inside the clothes dryer.

Question: Asbestos in Faspite gypsum plaster made by Billingham div of Pioneer?

(May 12, 2016) TRM said:
We have building built in 1961. The plaster work is 1 "Faspite" gypsum plaster manufactured by the Billing ham division of ICI 2 "Pioneer" insulated baseboard made by the same firm. Do these contain asbestos?

Reply:

Thanks for the question TRM. Faspite is not a product with which we're familiar, nor is Pioneer insulated wallboard.

Please use the page top or bottom CONTACT link to send me photos of your plasterboard or insulating board along with any identifying markings on it as that will help us research further.

In this article (above on this page) you'll see a discussion of asbestos in drywall along with links to articles offering more detail on that hazard. Please check those out. Especially, see inspectapedia.com/hazmat/Asbestos_in_Drywall.php where we will re-post your question along with any further research results.

Our research to date has found that the principal source of asbestos in wallboard products has been in joint compound used to tape and seal the abutting joints of drywall or gypsum board. The plethora of mesothelioma lawsuit websites who list information on asbestos in drywall seem to confuse the joint compound source of asbestos with the drywall product itself. Though of course we can't absolutely rule out asbestos in some gyp-board or drywall products, that source makes little appearnce in the literature we've found to date. More information is in the REFERENCES section of this article.

I'll do a bit more research and add remarks here. Tell me if you are asking about a U.K. product or if you're located elsewhere.

Gypsum plasterboard was indeed manufactured by ICI in the early 1960's and marked as you describe 1 Faspite gypsum plaster, produced by Billingham division of ICI and Pioneer insulated board as well.

History: According to Encyclopedia.com, ICI was a British conglomerate that produced chemicals and industrial products and that was Britain's second-largest wallboard producer until 1967. British Plaster Board, BPB plc, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Saint Gobain Inc. (http://www.bpb.com) bought Bellrock Gypsum in that year (1967). By the end of 1968 ICI had given up its wallboard producing machinery to BPB, giving that company a virtual monopoly on gypsum board production.

Question: asbestos in wallboard from the 1970's?

(Aug 26, 2016) (mod) said:
re-posting

Hundy said

Wondering if this wall board looks like it has asbestos. I think it was installed in the 1970s:

Reply:

I looked at and downloaded your photos (for further posting & research) - looks like a paper product. To know for certain if this product is asbestos-free we'd either need to know the product brand and name or you'd need to send a sample to a test lab. If you decide to do that search Inspectapedia for ASBESTOS TEST LAB LIST to find a certified lab and do keep us posted as what you learn will assist others.

Question: asbestos in electrical wire insulation

1950's era fabric covered copper & tinned copper electrical wire being salvaged (C) InspectApedia.com D.D.(Sept 12, 2016) D said:
so I could use some help. I have been stripping a 50s house for remodel. the homeowner let me keep all the electric wire I pulled out. everything from boxes SE wires and junctions. most is rubber braid and I'm just not sure. lots of pics please help me feel better about this trailer load of unknown.

Reply:

D

Some electrical wiring fabric looms, insulation, and even some rubber conductor insulation contained asbestos, usually where the wiring was subject to high heat applications or where fire safety was an extra concern such as in theaters. See ASBESTOS ELECTRICAL INSULATION

It looks from the photos you sent as if you've got plastic insulated conductors under paper under fabric, some probably using rubber insulation or asphalt impregnated fabric.

If it's worth $50. to you, send a representative sample to an ASBESTOS TEST LAB (see ASBESTOS TEST LABS at InspectApedia.com).

More photos of your wiring are now online at OLD ELECTRICAL WIRING TYPES - thanks for the images.

Question: thin cardboard sheets in 1855 Brick Victorian

(Sept 22, 2016) Anonymous said:

My basement (a Circa 1855 Brick Victorian) has two heating rooms with these thin cardboard sheets either stapled or hanging down broken in the furnace/boiler room area. Doing real estate 35 years never saw these. Would these contain asbestos? Victoria

Reply:

Please use the page Bottom CONTACT link to send me some sharp photos for comment. Could be asbestos fire-resistant material.

Question: is cardboard in the ceiling asbestos?

(Oct 24, 2016) Jessica Turner said:
I have an older home and recently had plumbing leak into my kitchen. When taking down the wet ceiling I discovered 2 layers. One that looks like cardboard and then there is plaster and lath. I had a home inspector come and look, he never mentioned asbestos, I had one contractor that told me it was beaver board, but how do I know for sure?

Reply:

Please use the search box just above, Jessica, and look at InspectApedia.com's article on FIBERBOARD SHEATHING to see what that material looks-like. You can also search for and read about the (low) risk of asbestos in that product by finding ASBESTOS in FIBERBOARD SHEATHING. Let me know if questions remain.

Question: did plaster board ever contain asbestos?

(Oct 26, 2016) James said:
I recently renovated a house build in the 1930s to 1940s and ripped out all the old plaster boards, was asbestos ever used in plaster board ?

Reply: yes

Yes James.

In the article ASBESTOS PHOTO GUIDE to MATERIALS please read the section titled in bold font:

Asbestos content in Drywall, wallboard or "Sheetrock" or gypsum board:

Question: asbestos popcorn ceiling paint in 2000?

(Nov 8, 2016) Guu said:
I am living in an apt that was built in 2000. The living room and bedrooms have "popcorn" look ceiling. I am wondering if it is safe for me to assume that this ceiling does not contain asbestos, given it was built in 2000?

Reply:

Guu

It would be quite odd to find asbestos in popcorn ceiling paint on a 2000-built building.

Question: Asbestos popcorn ceiling paint in 1983?

(Nov 9, 2016) Cathy said:
My home was built in 1983 with a popcorn ceiling. Do you know if the asbestos was banned in popcorn ceiling paint back then?

Reply:

I'd treat the material as presumed to contain asbestos, cover it over, or if you face costly demolition, have a sample tested.

Question: asbestos in 1954 water heater

(Nov 14, 2016) Todd said:
House built in 54 water heater removed and going to recycle pulling out isulation danger of asbestos?

Reply:

Possibly; we've found asbestos in some old water heaters

Question: asbestos in 1964 Arizona home?

(Nov 18, 2016) Cindy said:
I just purchase a home in Arizona built in 1964. The interior walls are cement board over a thin drywall. Do you know if there is risk of asbestos in them?

Reply:

Yes. Possibly. Cover over or have it tested before any demolition.

Question: asbetsos in 1927 home ceiling?

(Nov 22, 2016) Anonymous said:
I purchased a home built in 1927. It has ceilings with flat lining. Could it be asbestos in that age of house

Reply:

I'm unclear what sort of ceiling you mean but yes asbestos was used in some ceiling products. As we opined to Cindy above, Cover over or have it tested before any demolition.

...


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