Prepared by

This booklet will help you understand asbestos:
what it is, its health effects, where it is in your
home, and what to do about it.
   Even if asbestos is in your home, this is usually
NOT a serious problem. The mere presence of
asbestos in a home or a building is not hazardous.
The danger is that asbestos materials may become
damaged over time. Damaged asbestos may re-
lease asbestos fibers and become a health hazard.
LEAVE IT ALONE! Disturbing it may create a
health hazard where none existed before. Read this
booklet before you have any asbestos material in-
spected, removed, or repaired.
Asbestos isamineralfiber. Itcanbepositivelyiden-
tified only with a special type of microscope. There
are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past,
asbestos was added to a variety of products to.
strengthen them and to provide heat insulation
and fire resistance.
                                                    From studies of people who were exposed to asbes-
                                                    tos in factories and shipyards,  we know that
                                                    breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to
                                                    an increased risk of:
                                                    * lung cancer;
                                                        *U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1996-416-365
                                                    3716   Published by the American Lung Association   9/90

 8 mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest
  and the abdominal cavity; and
 • asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred
  with fibrous tissue.
  The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma in-
 creases with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk
 of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is also
 greater if you smoke. People who get asbestosis
 have usually been exposed to high levels of asbes-
 tos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases
 do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years
 after the first exposure to asbestos.
  Most people exposed to small amounts of asbes-
 tos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop
 these health  problems.  However, if disturbed,
 asbestos material may  release asbestos  fibers,
 which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibers can
 remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of
 disease. Asbestos material  that would crumble
 easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped,
 or sanded into a powder, is more likely to create a
 health hazard.
 Most products made today do not contain asbestos.
 Those few products made which still contain as-
 bestos that could be inhaled are required to be
 labeled as such. However, until the 1970s, many
 types of building products and insulation materi-
 als used in homes contained asbestos. Common
 products that might have contained asbestos in
 the past, and conditions which may release fibers,
• include:
   DUCTS insulated with an asbestos blanket or
   asbestos paper tape. These materials may re-
   lease asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or
   removed improperly.
 • RESILIENT  FLOOR TILES  (vinyl asbestos,
  asphalt, and rubber), the backing on VINYL
  for installing floor tile. Sanding tiles can release
  fibers. So may scraping or sandingthe backing of
  sheet flooring during removal.
  used as insulation around furnaces and wood-
  burning stoves. Repairing or removing appli-
  ances may release asbestos fibers.  So may
  cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing
  DOOR GASKETS in furnaces, wood stoves, and
  coal stoves. Worn seals can release asbestos
  fibers during use.
  TERIAL sprayed on walls and ceilings. Loose,
  crumbly, or water-damaged material may re-
  lease fibers. So will sanding, drilling, or scrap-
  ing the material.
  walls and ceilings, and TEXTURED PAINTS.
  Sanding,  scraping, or drilling these surfaces
  may release asbestos.
  and SIDING. These products are not likely to
  release asbestos fibers unless sawed, drilled, or
  use in  gas-fired fireplaces. Also, other older
  household products such as FIREPROOF
If yo think asbestos may be in your home, don't
panic! Usually, the bestthingis to LEAVE asbestos
material  that  is in good  condition  ALONE.

Generally, material in good condition will not release
asbestos fibers. THERE IS NO DANGER unless fibers
are released and inhaled into the lungs.
   Check material regularly if you suspect it may con-
tain asbestos. Don't touch it, but look for signs of wear
  or damage such as tears, abrasions, or water damage.
  Damaged material may release asbestos fibers. This
  is particularly true if you often disturb it by hitting,
  rubbing, or handling it, or if it is exposed to extreme
  vibration or air flow.
   You can't tell whether a material contains asbestos
   simply by looking at it, unless it is labeled. If in doubt,
   treat the material as if it contains asbestos or have it
   sampled and analyzed by a qualified professional. A
   professional should take samples for analysis, since a
   professional knows what to lookfor, and because there
   may be an increased health risk if fibers are-released.
   In  fact, if done incorrectly, sampling can be more
   hazardous than leaving the material alone. Taking
   samples yourself is not recommended. If you neverthe-
   less choose to take the samples yourself, take care not
   to release asbestos fibers into the air or onto yourself.
   Material that is in good condition and will not be
   disturbed (by remodeling, for example) should be left
   alone. Only material that is damaged or will be dis-
   turbed should be sampled. Anyone who samples asbes-
   tos-containing materials should have  as much infor-
   mation as possible on the handling of asbestos before
   sampling, and at a  minimum, should observe the
   following procedures:
    • Make sure no one else is in the room when sampling
      is done.
    • Wear disposable gloves or wash hands  after sam-
    • Shut down any heating or cooling systems to mini-
      mize the spread of any released fibers.
    "Do not disturb the material any more than is needed
       to take a small sample.
    • Place a plastic sheet on the floor below the area to be
    • Wet the material using a fine mist of water contaln-
       ingafewdrops ofdetergent before takingthe sample.
       The water/detergent mist will reduce the release of
  asbestos fibers.
« Carefully cut a piece from the entire depth of the
  material using, for example, a small knife, corer,
  or other sharp object. Place the small piece into a
  clean container (for example, a 35 mm film canis-
  ter, small glass or plastic vial, or high quality re-
:  scalable plastic bag).
• Tightly seal the container after the sample is in it.
• • Carefully dispose of the plastic sheet. Use a damp
;  paper  towel to clean up any material on the
  Dispose of asbestos materials according to state
  and local procedures.
• Label the container with an identification number
  and clearly state when and where the sample was
• Patch the sampled area with the smallest possible
  piece of duct tape to prevent fiber release.
• Send the sample to an EPA-approved laboratory
   for analysis. The National Institute for Standards
   and Technology (NIST) has a list of these labora-
   tories. You can get this list from the Laboratory
   Accreditation Administration, NIST, Gaithers-
.   burg, MD 20899 (telephone 301-975-4016). Your
   state or local health department may also be able
   to help.

  Sometimes, the best way to deal with slightly
damaged material is to limit access to the area and
not touch or disturb it. Discard damaged or worn
asbestos gloves, stove-top pads, or ironing board
covers. Check with local health, environmental, or
other appropriate officials to find out proper han-
dling and disposal procedures.
  If asbestos material is more than slightly dam-
aged, 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
remodeled, find out whether asbestos materials are
 If the asbestos material is in good shape and willnot
 be disturbed, donothing! If itis aproblem, there are
    	Do keep activities to a minimum in any areas
    having damaged material that may contain as-
    	Do take every precaution to avoid damaging
    asbestos material.
    	Do have removal and major  repair done by
    people trained and qualified in handling asbestos.
    It is  highly recommended  that sampling and
    minor repair also be done by asbestos profession-
    	Don't dust, sweep, or vacuum  debris that may
    contain asbestos.
    — Don't saw, sand, scrape, or drill holes in asbes-
    tos materials.
 two types of corrections: repair and removal.

 BEPAIRusuallyinvolves either sealing or covering
 asbestos material.
    Sealing (encapsulation) involves treating the
 material with a sealant that either binds the
 asbestos fibers together or coats the material so
 fibers are not released. Pipe, furnace, and boiler
 insulation can sometimes be repaired this way.
 This should be done only by a professional trained
 to handle asbestos safely.
 over or around the material that contains asbestos
 to prevent release of fibers.  Exposed insulated
 piping may be covered with a protective wrap or
 ; jacket.
    With any type of repair, the asbestos remains in
 , place. Repair is usually cheaper than removal, but
 : it may make later removal of asbestos, if necessary,
  more difficult and costly. Repairs can either be
  major or minor.
— Don't use abrasive pads or brushes on power
strippers to strip wax from asbestos flooring.
Never use a power stripper on a dry floor.
— Don't sand or try to level asbestos flooring or its
backing. When asbestos flooring needs replacing,
install new floorcovering over it, if possible.
 —Don't track material that could contain asbes-
tos through the house. If you cannot avoid walk-
ing through the area, have it cleaned with a wet
mop. If the material is from a damaged area, or if
a large area must be cleaned, call an asbestos pro-

                      Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found In The Home
 1. Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
 2. Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos as insulation
4. Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos
I S5T Pr0/fl   SUCh as/tove-toP Pads ™y have some asbestos compot^
shelf "* fl°°rS ai°Und W0otail* sto-a may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement

9. Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.

       Major repairs must be done only by a profes-

     ate since there is always a risk of exposure to fibers
     when asbestos is disturbed.
     since improper handling of asbestos materials can
     create a hazard where none existed. If you never-
     theless choose to do minor repairs, you should have
    as much information as possible on the handlingof
    asbestos before doing anything. Contact your state
    or local health department or regional EPA office
    for information about asbestos training programs
    m your area. Your local school district may also
    have information about asbestos professionals and
    trammgprograms for school buildings. Even if you
    have  completed a training program, do not try
    anything more than minor repairs. Before under-
    taking minor repairs, carefully examine the area
   around the damage to make sure it is stable As a
   gtoeral matter, any damaged area which is bigeer
   than the size of your hand is not a minor repair
     Before  undertaking minor repairs, be sure to
   foUowaUtheprecautions described earHerfor sam-
   pling asbestos material. Always wet the asbestos
   drops of determent. Cnrnmar-^^ ™»j,._*_ j. •
   -.__—wu ^.^ occu ueuuagea areas are available
  bmall areas of material such as pipe insulation can
  be covered by wrapping a special fabric, such as
  rewettable glass cloth, around it. These products
  are available from stores (listed in the telephone
  directory under "Safety Equipmentand Clothing")
  which specialize in asbestos materials and safety
  items.                                    J

  REMOVAL is usually the most expensive method
  and, unless required by state or local regulations,
  should be the last option considered in most situ-
  ations This is because removal poses the greatest
 nsk of fiber release. However, removal may be
 required when remodelingormaMngmajor changes
 to your home that will disturb asbestos material
 Also, removal maybe caUedforif asbestos material
 is damaged extensively and cannot  be otherwise
 repaired. Removal is complex and must  be done
 only by a contractor with special training Im-
 proper removal may actually increase the health
 risks to you and your family.

Asbestos professionals  are trained  in  handling
asbestos material. The type of professional will
depend on the type of product and what needs to be
doneto correct the problem. You may hire ageneral
asbestos contractor or, in some cases, a professional
trained to handle specific products containing as-
   Asbestos professionals can conduct home in-
spections, take samples of suspected  material,
assess its condition, and advise about what correc-
tions are needed and who is qualified to make these
corrections. Once again, material in good condi-
tion need not be sampled unless it is likely to be
disturbed. Professional correction or abatement
contractors repair or remove asbestos materials.
   Some firms offer combinations of testing, as-
sessment, and correction. A professional hired to
assess the need for corrective action should not be
connected with an asbestos-correction firm. It is
better to use two different firms so there is no
conflict of interest. Services vary from one area to
another around the country.
   The federal government has training courses for
asbestos professionals around the country. Some
state and local governments also have or require
training or certification courses. Ask asbestos pro-
fessionals to document their completion of federal
or state-approved traming. Each person performing
work in your home should provide proof of training
and licensing in asbestos work, such as completion
of EPA-approved training. State and local health
departments or EPA regional offices may have
listings of licensed professionals in your area.
   If you have a problem that requires the services
of asbestos professionals, check their credentials
carefully. Hire professionals who are trained, expe-
rienced, reputable, and accredited — especially if
accreditation is  required by state or local laws.
Before hiring a professional, ask for references
from previous clients. Find out if they were satis-
fied. Ask  whether the professional has handled
similar situations. Get cost estimates from several
professionals, as the charges for these services can
   Though private homes are usually not covered
by the asbestos regulations that apply to schools
and public buildings, professionals should still use
procedures described during federal or state-ap-
proved training. Homeowners shouldbe alert to the
chance of misleading claims by asbestos consult-
ants and  contractors. There have been reports of
firms incorrectly claiming that asbestos materials
in homes must be replaced. In other cases, firms
have encouraged unnecessary removals or per-
formed them improperly. Unnecessary removals
are a waste of money. Improper removals may
actually increase the health risks to you and your
family. To guard against this, know what services
are available and what procedures and precau-
tions are  needed to do the job properly.
   In addition to general asbestos contractors, you
may select a roofing, flooring, or plumbing contrac-
tor trained to handle asbestos when it is necessary
to remove and replace roofing, flooring, siding, or
asbestos-cement pipe that is part of a water system.
Normally, roofing  and  flooring contractors  are
exempt from state and local licensing require-
ments because they do not perform any other
asbestos-correction work. Call 1-800-USA-ROOF
for names of qualified roofing contractors in your
area. (Illinois  residents call 708-318-6722.)  For
information on asbestos in floors, read "Recom-
mended Work Procedures for Resilient Floor Cov-
 ers." You can write for a copy from the Resilient
Floor Covering Institute, 966 Hungerford Drive,
 Suite 12-B,Rockville,MD 20850. Enclose a stamped,
 This document may be reproduced without change, in whole or in part, without permission, except for use as advertising material or product endorsement Any such
 reproSnshS crrfttttTe American Lung Association, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.a Environmental Protect™ Agency. The use
 ofaSoranyJar? oDocument in a deceptive or inaccurate manner or for purposes of endorsing a particular product may be subjek to appropriate legal action.

business-size, self-addressed envelope.
   Asbestos-containing automobile brake pads and
linings, clutch facings, and gaskets should be re-
paired and replaced only by a professional using
special protective equipment. Many of these prod-
ucts are now available without asbestos. For more
information, read "Guidance for Preventing Asbes-
tos Disease Among Auto Mechanics," available
from regional EPA offices.
• Make sure that the inspection will include a
   complete visual examination and the careful
   collection and lab analysis of samples. If asbes-
   tos is present, the inspector should provide a
   written evaluation describing its location and
   extent of damage, and give recommendations
   for correction or prevention.
8 Make sure an inspecting firm makes  frequent
   site visits if it is hired to assure that a contractor
   follows  proper procedures and requirements.
  The  inspector may  recommend and  perform
   checks after the correction to assure the area has
   been properly cleaned.
   Check with your local air pollution controlboard,
   the local agency responsible for worker safety,
   and the Better Business Bureau. Ask if the firm
   has had any safety violations. Find out if there
    STATEMENT BY THE AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION: The statements in this brochure are b
    Consumer Product Safety Comissian and the American Lung Association (ALAi. The sponsors belie'
    from other sources. However, ALA did not develop the underlying information used to create the brc
    should not be handled, sampled, removed or repaired by anyone other than a qualified professional.

   are legal actions filed against it.
 «  Insist that the contractor use the proper equip-
   ment to do the job. The workers must wear
   approved respirators, gloves, and other protec-
   tive clothing.
. •  Before work begins, get a written contract speci-
   fying the work plan, cleanup, and the applicable
   federal, state, and local regulations which the
   contractor must follow  (such  as  notification
   requirements andasbestos disposal procedures).
:   Contactyourstateandlocalhealthdepartments,
1  . EPA's  regional office, and the Occupational
   Safety and Health Administration's regional
i   office to find out what the regulations are. Be
:   sure the  contractor follows local asbestos re-
:   movalanddisposallaws.Attheendofthejob,get
   written assurance from the contractor that all
'.   procedures have been followed.
 •  Assure that the contractor avoids spreading or
   tracking asbestos dust into other areas of your
   home. They should seal the work area from the
   rest of the house using plastic sheeting and duct
   tape, and also turn off the heating and air
   conditioning system. For some repairs, such as
   pipe insulation removal, plastic glove bags may
   be adequate. They must be sealed with tape and
   properly disposed of when the job is complete.
: •  Make sure the work site is clearly marked  as a
   hazard area. Do not allow household members
   and pets into the area until work is completed.
 e  Insist that the contractor apply a wetting agent
   to the  asbestos material with a hand sprayer
   that creates a fine mist before removal. Wet
   fibers do not float in the air as easily as dry
   fibers and will be easier to clean up.
 0  Make sure the contractor does not break re-
   moved material  into small pieces. This could
   release asbestos fibers into the air. Pipe irisula-
;   tion was usually installed in preformed blocks
1   and should be removed in complete pieces.
 8  Upon completion, assure that the contractor
   cleans the area well with wet mops, wet rags,
   sponges,  or HEPA (high efficiency particulate
   air) vacuum cleaners. A regular vacuum cleaner
   must never be used. Wetting helps reduce the
   chance of spreading asbestos fibers in the air.
   All asbestos materials  and disposable equip-
   ment and clothing used in the job must be placed
   in sealed, leakproof, and labeled plastic bags.
   The work site should be visually free of dust and

          in sealed, leakproof, and labeled plastic bags'."
          The work site should be visually free of dust and
          debris. Air monitoring (to make sure there is no
          increase of asbestos fibers in the air) may be
          necessary to assure that the contractor's job is
          done properly. This should be done by someone
          not connected with the contractor.
          Do not dust, sweep, or vacuum debris that
          may contain asbestos. These steps will
          disturb tiny asbestos fibers and may re-
          lease them into the air. Remove dust by
          wet mopping or with a special HEPA
          vacuum cleaner used by trained asbestos
      For more information, contact your local American
      Lung Association for copies of:
        —Indoor Air Pollution Fact Sheet —Asbestos
        —Air Pollution In Your Home?
        — Other publications on indoor pollution

     For more information on asbestos in other con-
     sumer products, call the CPSC Hotline or write to
     the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
     Washington, DC 20207. The CPSC Hotline has
     information on  certain appliances and products,
     such as the brands and models of hairdryers that
     contain asbestos. Call CPSC at 1-800-638-CPSC A
     teletypewriter (TTY) for the hearing impaired is
     available at 1-800-638-8270. The Maryland TTY
     number is 1-800-492-8104.
       To find out whether your state has a training
     and certification program for asbestos removal
     contractors, and for information on EPA's asbestos
     programs, call the EPA at 202-554-1404.
       For more information on asbestos identification
     and control activities, contact the Asbestos Coordi-
     nator in the EPARegional Office for your region, or
     your state or local health department.
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