The Industrial Revolution sparked asbestos manufacturing in the late 1800s. Asbestos’ resistance to chemicals, heat, water and electricity made it an excellent insulator for steam engines, turbines, boilers, ovens and electric generators. However, with the increased use of asbestos came the dangerous side effects on those who mined, refined and worked with the mineral. According to Asbestos.com, the first documented death of asbestos poisoning occurred in 1906.
Today, believe it or not, asbestos is still not completely banned in the United States, and the last mine closed recently in 2002. The EPA has helped to pass multiple laws and regulations limiting the use of asbestos in building materials due to its harmful nature. However, it’s important to be on the lookout for materials that still may contain the mineral as you design a new or renovated building. Here’s a list of 10 building materials that can contain asbestos:
Transite is a fireproof asbestos-cement that can be found in cement piping or wallboard, siding and roofing, gutters and drainpipes, waste and sewer lines, landscape edging, hard fiber insulation, and vent and HVAC piping. Transite can cause water and air contamination through renovation, demolition, and exterior exposure and wear.
2. Hard pipe insulation
Because of its resistance to heat, asbestos was commonly used as an insulator for pipes. Today, older buildings and homes may still contain the harmful substance.
3. Pipe joint insulation
In addition to pipes, asbestos can be found in the insulation of pipe joints.
4. Boiler/tank insulation
Like pipe insulation on lines and joints, asbestos was used to insulate boilers and tanks. It must be removed before demolition or renovations involving these mechanical systems.
5. Fire proofing
Originally, asbestos was used as a cost-effective, fireproof additive for fire resistant products and woven into fabrics and cloth. As soon as asbestos was deemed harmful, the substance was removed from the materials.
6. 9x9-inch floor tile
9x9-inch tiles were very common in homes and commercial spaces constructed between 1920 and 1960. During this time, asbestos was still commonly used because of its resilient nature.
7. 12x12-inch floor tile
Similarly, 12x12-inch floor tiles are commonly used today for flooring. However, if your building was constructed before 1980, there’s a high chance that these tiles containing asbestos were used. If you’re undergoing a renovation, be sure to conduct an asbestos screening before breaking up any flooring to be safe.
8. Black/brown floor tile mastic
Mastic is another name for floor tile adhesive made with an asphalt-based cement that often contained asbestos. Black and brown mastic can only be identified once tile is removed, so it’s crucial to conduct safe asbestos surveys to ensure your site is clear of the substance.
9. Spray applied ceiling texture
The Clean Air Act of 1978 banned spray-on asbestos products. Commonly called “popcorn” ceiling, these materials often contained asbestos minerals and should undergo screenings before any type of construction activity.
10. Roofing materials
In addition to textiles and cloth, asbestos was also used in roofing materials, such as flashing and caulk, to act as a flame retardant.
Tioga is here to ensure your construction is safe for your crew and future tenants. Click here to learn more about our services to test for hazardous building materials.