Asbestos Facts

Some facts about asbestos

Breathing in asbestos fibers has been linked to cancer and other diseases. When asbestos-containing material is disturbed or damaged it releases tiny fibers into the air that are too small to be filtered by a dust mask. There is no safe level of exposure, so contact with any amount of asbestos can be harmful.

The best way to handle asbestos-containing material is to hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to perform the work. Most home repair or remodeling contractors do not have an asbestos abatement license or certified workers who are trained and equipped to work safely with asbestos.

Protect yourself and your family from the dangers of improper asbestos removal. Call the Southwest Clean Air Agency at 360-574-3058 to get more information and advice before you remodel, hire a contractor or attempt to handle asbestos yourself. If you think you have been exposed to asbestos and want to learn more about mesothelioma, click here.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral that can be broken down into very fine fibers that are heat-resistant and extremely durable. Because of these properties, asbestos was widely used in construction materials.

Depending on its condition, asbestos in your home may be hazardous to your health. As long as asbestos is not disturbed, damaged or worn, or the material is sealed, it is not considered a health hazard.

If you're thinking of buying a house that needs remodeling, or planning to remodel your current home, hire a qualified AHERA inspector to survey the house for asbestos before you buy or remodel. Improper handling of asbestos-containing materials can be expensive.

Does your house have asbestos-containing materials?

Note: The following list does not include every product or material that may contain asbestos. It is intended as a general guide to show which types of materials may contain asbestos.

  • Acoustical plaster
  • Adhesives
  • Asphalt floor tile
  • Base flashing
  • Boiler insulation
  • Breaching insulation
  • Built-up roofing
  • Caulking/putties
  • Ceiling tiles and lay-in panels
  • Cement pipes
  • Cement siding
  • Cement wallboard
  • Chalkboards
  • Construction mastics (floor tile, carpet, ceiling tile, etc.)
  • Cooling towers
  • Decorative plaster
  • Ductwork flexible fabric connections
  • Electric wiring insulation - post & knob
  • Electrical cloth
  • Electrical panel partitions
  • Elevator Equipment Panels
  • Elevator brake shoes
  • Fire blankets
  • Fire curtains
  • Fire doors
  • Fireproofing materials
  • Flooring backing
  • HVAC duct insulation
  • Heating and electrical ducts
  • High temperature gaskets
  • Joint compounds
  • Laboratory gloves
  • Laboratory hoods/table tops
  • Packing materials (for wall/floor penetrations)
  • Pipe insulation (corrugated air-cell, block, etc.)
  • Spackling compounds
  • Taping compounds (thermal)
  • Textured paints/coatings
  • Thermal paper products
  • Vermiculite insulation
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Vinyl sheet flooring
  • Vinyl wall coverings
  • Wallboard

Be safe! Treat all suspect materials as if they contain asbestos until you know for sure.