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Health Risks At Home and Work

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber found in rocks with of silicate minerals that are made up of millions of fibers. The fibers are strong and resistant to heat and fire. It became commonly used in building materials around 1930. Cheaply mined, the asbestos fibers were highly flexible, long and thin. Asbestos low costs and unique qualities assured their use in thousands of consumer, automotive, scientific and industrial products. In the 1930’s. 40’s and 50’s asbestos was commonly used for wall and pipe insulation.

In East Tennessee we find asbestos commonly on house siding (Transite)Panels, pipe wrap and as building insulation.

Image is of raw asbestos mineral in its mined form

This is mined Asbestos mineral in its raw form.

A professional can only positively identify asbestos under a high power microscope.


Why Should I be concerned about Asbestos exposure at work and home?

Asbestos is a leading cause of long-term illnesses in schools, offices and commercial buildings nationwide. Exposure to Asbestos can cause lung and stomach cancers. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), estimates that 20,000 people will die each year for the next 30 years due to Asbestos Exposure.

If your home or building was constructed between 1920 and 1989 there is a strong likelihood that many or some of the materials used will have Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM).


Where is Asbestos Found in the home and work?

  • Some roofing and siding shingles were made of asbestos cement.
  • Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos insulation.
  • Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
  • Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
  • Older products like stovetop pads may have asbestos compounds in them.
  • Walls and floors around wood burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets.
  • Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
  • Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
    Photo view of Asbestos Fibers under a high power microscope.

    Asbestos Fibers under a high power microscope. When inhaled or ingested the “barbs” lodge into lung and stomach tissues.


What should you do if you suspect the presence of ACM’s?

  1. Don’t disturb it. Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) are not dangerous while it is intact and untouched. If damaged, broken or removed the asbestos fibers will become airborne.
  2. Asbestos materials in good condition will not typically release fibers. There is no general danger unless the fibers are released into the air.
  3. Contact Volunteer Inspections, LLC for a professional inspection and testing before remodeling or removal of any materials on ceilings, walls or floors if your structure was built between the years 1930 and 1989.
  4. Where possible label ACM to make others aware of the potential hazard and limit access to areas containing these materials.


Volunteer Inspections; LLC is certified by the State of Tennessee and Resolution Laboratory in Asbestos Inspection, Sampling and Mitigation (Management) Planning.


Call us if you need more information and to discuss your project.