Asbestos

Where is Asbestos Found in the Aiken area?

Asbestos was used quite frequently in construction for residential, commercial, and industrial building projects.  For a very long time, no one knew that asbestos was dangerous and was considered a great material.  Asbestos was valued for its heat resistance and fiber strength, leading it to be used in many building materials such as roofing shingles, ceilings, wall boards, plaster, floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products. It was also used in heat resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Buildings constructed in or around Aiken can be old enough to have these materials in them, predating the EPA bans on asbestos.

Where asbestos may be found:

  • Attics, wall board, plasters and wall insulation
  • Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
  • Roofing and siding shingles
  • Textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceilings
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
  • Hot water and steam pipes coated with asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with asbestos insulation
  • Heat-resistant fabrics

How can I be exposed to Asbestos?

Most people who have been exposed to asbestos is due to inhalation of the fibers that are released into the air when asbestos containing material is disturbed. This can be during use of the products, demolition and removal work, building or home maintenance and repair, and remodeling. If your home in Aiken was built before or around the EPA banning period, you may want to have it tested before beginning any major projects or repair to avoid potential exposure.

How we detect asbestos

Here at Pinnacle, we use the most advanced techniques to detect asbestos. We employ multiple techniques such as Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) and  Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to identify asbestos down to a tenth of a micrometer. Using the same methods as the EPA, we are able to deliver precise results, giving you peace of mind and confidence in your test.

Health Effects of Exposure to Asbestos

The amount of exposure to asbestos is directly correlated to the chance of developing asbestos related health conditions.  It takes many years before the effects of asbestos exposure become evident.

It greatly increases your risk for lung disease, which can be further aggravated by smoking.

Knowing if any diseases were caused by asbestos can be difficult. Heathcare professionals tend to review the patient’s medical, work, cultural, and environmental history to identify any potential exposure to asbestos to identify if it is the possible cause of lung disease and other related health conditions.

Once a doctor suspects an asbestos-related disease, he or she can use a number of diagnostic tests to help make the actual diagnosis. Some of these tests are physical examination, chest x-ray and pulmonary function tests. You may also be referred to a specialist who treats diseases caused by asbestos.

Three of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure are:

  • lung cancer
  • mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest and the abdomen and heart
  • asbestosis, a progressive, long-term, non-cancer disease of the lungs

Regulatory history of asbestos bans

  • In 1973, EPA banned spray-applied surfacing asbestos-containing material for fireproofing/insulating purposes. See National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) at 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M
  • In 1975, EPA banned installation of asbestos pipe insulation and asbestos block insulation on facility components, such as boilers and hot water tanks, if the materials are either pre-formed (molded) and friable or wet-applied and friable after drying. See National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) at 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M
  • In 1978, EPA banned spray-applied surfacing materials for purposes not already banned. See National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) at 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M
  • In 1977, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of asbestos in artificial fireplace embers and wall patching compounds. (See 16 CFR Part 1305 and 16 CFR 1304)
  • In 1989, the EPA issued a final rule under Section 6 of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning most asbestos-containing products. However, in 1991, this rule was vacated and remanded by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, most of the original ban on the manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce for the majority of the asbestos-containing products originally covered in the 1989 final rule was overturned.
    See 40 CFR 763 Subpart I.
  • In 1990, EPA prohibited spray-on application of materials containing more than 1% asbestos to buildings, structures, pipes, and conduits unless certain conditions specified. See National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) at 40 CFR 61, Subpart M are met.