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Maryland Handyman Home Page -Resource Center- Asbestos


Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance, which was widely used because of its ability to withstand high heat loads without burning or breaking down. Unfortunately, it was discovered that over time it breaks down into small fibers that when ingested become lodged in the lungs where it builds up and destroys the tissue and can cause serious health problems including Mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal membranes caused by the inhalation of asbestos and Asbestosis, a chronic disease of the lung which makes breathing progressively more difficult. These diseases can lead to death but because it has a latency period of twenty to forty years, it takes a while for manifestation of the symptoms.

In 1971 asbestos was listed as an EPA hazardous air pollutant, but because its use in the past was widespread it is still possible to find it in a variety of places in both residential and commercial applications. Asbestos should only be considered a problem if it is breaking down or falling apart, allowing its' fibers to become airborne. Removal or encapsulation (sealing the asbestos, normally beneath a wrapping of epoxy) should only be conducted by a licensed contractor trained to handle the remediation of it. If asbestos is found and is in good condition, care should be taken not to disturb it or damage it.

Below, is a list of common places where asbestos can be found. If in doubt, a sample of the suspected material can be collected by a professional testing company and tested for its' content.

Asbestos Ceiling Tiles Fireproof Board Hot Water and Steam Pipes
Roofing and Siding Insulation Boiler wraps
Ducts and Furnaces Joint Compound/ Textured Paint

We hope that you have found this article helpful. Please contact us if you have questions. This article is to give you an idea of what to look for. It is always recommended that you hire or consult with a professional and licensed contractor.

American Construction Services - Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC
Cellular: (410) 627.2630
Phone: (410) 351.7420 or (410) 351.0080