Environmental Issue & Sick Building Syndrome Blog


If we took a poll, probably a vast majority of people would recognize asbestos as a hazard. We know that it gets ripped out of schools and other public buildings. We recognize that people die from asbestos and that there are big class action lawsuits about the mineral.

There is a lot more we should know about this hazard previously thought of as a miracle product.

The use of asbestos dates back to the Greeks and Romans who used it to make cloth. It is a natural mineral, which varies by name and color depending upon where it is mined. There are 6 different minerals all lumped into the category of asbestos.  

Asbestos is resistant to heat and most chemicals. The tough fibers were used as reinforcement and for heat resistance in many products for industry, homes and commercial buildings. It is a sneaky carcinogen because it was easy to add the mineral to a host of products that can disguise its presence to the naked eye. The reason for its widespread use is that it saved lives from fire hazards and improved the characteristics of many products.

Asbestos is Real Personal for Millions of Workers

You might scratch your head on how this happened. There was evidence of the medical risks of asbestos as early as 1920, but workers were not told of the dangers until the mid 1970’s.

Millions of workers including my father have died of asbestos related cancer. As a young man, I was exposed to asbestos in everything from joint compound to insulation and ceiling tiles while working in the family construction company.

With that said, my work as an asbestos testing professional is highly personal. Asbestos exposure still occurs today in many products and when it is removed by unsuspecting workers. Asbestos is still heavily mined in Russia and does find its way into products being manufactured today.

Asbestos in the News and on TV

Within the last two months, asbestos made the news when the WTDV reporters found that samples of a highlighter makeup called “Just Shine Shimmer Powder” that is sold in Justice stores contained asbestos. By the way, this product targeted for young people also contained a handful of toxic heavy metals.

Another example of possible asbestos that appears regularly on HGTV is popcorn or stipple ceiling finish material. Up until 1999, some manufacturers were adding asbestos to that material. Aspiring homeowners love to remove texture from ceilings which in turn contaminates a building with asbestos fibers.       

Posted in:asbestos and tagged: HomeInspectionAsbestos
Posted by Dan Howard on August 26th, 2017 10:40 AM



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