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Asbestos Awareness

Asbestos has been mined and used commercially in North America since the late 1800s, but its use increased greatly during World War II. Since then, it has been used in many industries. For example, the building and construction industry uses it for strengthening cement and plastics as well as for insulation, fireproofing, and sound absorption. The shipbuilding industry has used asbestos to insulate boilers, steam pipes, hot water pipes, and nuclear reactors in ships. The automotive industry uses asbestos in vehicle brake shoes and clutch pads. More than 5,000 products contain or have contained asbestos, some of which are listed below:
Asbestos cement sheet and pipe products used for water supply and sewage piping, roofing and siding, casings for electrical wires, fire protection material, chemical tanks, electrical switchboards and components, and residential and industrial building materials;

• Friction products, such as clutch facings; brake linings for automobiles, railroad cars, and airplanes; and industrial friction materials;

• Products containing asbestos paper, such as table pads and heat- protective mats, heat and electrical wire insulation, industrial filters for beverages, small appliance components, and underlying material for sheet flooring;

• Asbestos textile products, such as packing components, roofing materials, heat- and fire-resistant clothing, and fireproof draperies; and

• Other products, including ceiling and floor tile; gaskets and packing; paints, coatings, and sealants; caulking and patching tape; and plastics.
Reducing Exposure to Asbestos in Homes:
If you think your home may have asbestos, don't panic! Usually it is best to leave asbestos material that is in good condition alone. Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fibre. There is no danger unless fibres are released and inhaled into the lungs.

Do not cut, rip, or sand asbestos-containing materials:
Leave undamaged materials alone and, to the extent possible, prevent them from being damaged, disturbed, or touched. Periodically inspect for damage or deterioration. Discard damaged or worn asbestos gloves, stovetop pads, or ironing board covers. Check with local health, environmental, or other appropriate officials to find out about proper handling and disposal procedures. If asbestos material is more than slightly damaged, or if you are going to make changes in your home that might disturb it, repair or removal by a professional is needed. Before you have your house remodelled, find out whether asbestos materials are present.

When you need to remove or clean up asbestos, use a professionally trained contractor:
Select a contractor only after careful discussion of the problems in your home and the steps the contractor will take to clean up or remove them. Consider the option of sealing off the materials instead of removing them.

To learn the facts about asbestos look at the HSE site


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