How to Identify Asbestos

Two individuals in hazmat suits removing bags of asbestos using a forkliftAsbestos is a fiber that naturally occurs in soil and rocks. Six (6) forms of asbestos exist and each one possesses long, fibrous crystals in its composition. 

Asbestos was used frequently for many American and European consumer goods before science unearthed its harmful effects. The history of asbestos being utilized in consumer manufacturing makes it difficult to identify.

It is not possible to know if asbestos is in an object by just looking at it. Proper testing and precautions are necessary for the correct identification of asbestos. 

Knowing how to identify asbestos is a vital step to ensuring its complete removal from human contact. Therefore, asbestos removal is made easier with access to correct information. 

In this article, you will get every relevant detail required for complete asbestos awareness. Additionally, you will learn important information about courses that teach safe methods of identifying, handling, and removing asbestos from your surroundings. 


Closeup view of asbestos

What Does Asbestos Look Like?

Asbestos fibers are quite difficult to spot with the naked eye, but three main kinds of this material exist. The most common forms of asbestos are crocidolite (blue), amosite (brown), and chrysolite (white).

These fibers are only visible under a microscope, however, are easy to identify with professional assistance. 


What is Asbestos Used For?

Most of the following require asbestos for production:

  • Attics/wall insulations
  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Roofing/siding shingles
  • Textured paints
  • Patching compounds for ceilings and walls
  • Walls protected with asbestos paper
  • Steam pipes coated with asbestos material 
  • Gaskets and furnaces with asbestos insulation
  • Brakes and clutches on automobiles, etc.

Asbestos can be found in dated models of these items. However, recent innovations/inventions use less or no asbestos in making some of these products. 


Warning sign notifying viewers of the risk of asbestos

Health Effects of Asbestos Exposure

Prolonged exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing health problems. People who are chronic smokers are also at a higher risk of developing lung disease from exposure to asbestos. 

Asbestos-related illnesses can be difficult to diagnose. The major health problems linked to asbestos exposure include:

  • Mesothelioma (rare cancer that is usually located in the chest, abdominal area, lungs, and the heart of affected people)
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis (lung disease that spreads with time)

Early diagnosis of these conditions is crucial to prevent life-threatening symptoms after exposure to asbestos. 


How to Properly Identify Asbestos

The following are best suited to identify asbestos:

An asbestos survey

  • Management survey (for commercial and residential buildings) 
  • Refurbishment and demolition survey (intrusive approach before building construction)

Or, Identification in specialist labs


Consult ACT for Professional Asbestos Awareness Courses

Gaining necessary asbestos awareness is essential for workers and employers to handle this material. Proper asbestos removal is also comfortable with access to expert training and guidance. 

ACT currently offers an updated asbestos awareness course to help achieve the following:

  • Equip employers and workers with information to safely handle, dispose and transport asbestos materials
  • Educate participants with little knowledge dangers of asbestos exposure. 
  • Provide information to help workers identify asbestos in materials around their environment

Proper asbestos awareness training from ACT equips your staff with greater knowledge to manage this harmful material. Contact us today to get professional safety training for asbestos removal and management with ease!

Please add Content in FAQ