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.

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

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