What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral fiber. It can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.
ERA Test, LLC offers asbestos evaluation under the accreditation of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality Asbestos Control Program.
Should I be worried about asbestos?
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, people who are exposed to asbestos through breathing in the asbestos fibers may have an increased risk of developing respiratory disease such as lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer. For more information on the health effects of asbestos CLICK HERE.
Where can asbestos hazards be found?
Older homes may have asbestos as insulation. Attic and wall insulation produced using vermiculite ore, particularly ore that originated from a Libby, Montana mine, may contain asbestos fibers. Vermiculite was mined in Libby, Montana between 1923 and 1990. Prior to its close in 1990, much of the world's supply of vermiculite came from the Libby mine. This mine had a natural deposit of asbestos which resulted in the vermiculite being contaminated with asbestos. More examples are below, but are not limited to:
- Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
- Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
- Older products such as stove-top pads may have some asbestos compounds.
- Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, mill-board, or cement sheets.
- Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
- Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
- Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.
- Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
How does ERA Test identify Materials That Contain Asbestos?
You can't tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, unless it is labeled. If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos or have it sampled and analyzed by a certified ERA Test professional. We will carefully take samples for analysis. Taking samples yourself is not recommended.If done incorrectly, sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone. Material that is in good condition and will not be disturbed (by remodeling, for example) should be left alone. Only material that is damaged or will be disturbed should be sampled.