Asbestos

Where is Asbestos Found in the Florence area?

Asbestos used to be used quite frequently in construction for residential, commercial, and industrial building projects. Asbestos was valued for its heat resistance and fiber strength, promoting its use in many building materials such as roofing shingles, ceilings, wall boards, plaster, floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products. It was also used in heat resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Buildings constructed in or around Florence can be old enough to have these materials in them, predating the EPA bans on asbestos.

Where asbestos may be found:

  • Attics, wall board, plasters and wall insulation
  • Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives
  • Roofing and siding shingles
  • Textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceilings
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
  • Hot water and steam pipes coated with asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape
  • Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets with asbestos insulation
  • Heat-resistant fabrics

How can I be exposed to Asbestos in Florence?

Exposure to asbestos fibers normally occurs by inhalation.  This happens usually during a remodeling project or demolition where asbestos containing items are disturbed and the dust enters the air.  In the past, the health hazards of asbestos were not known, so workers or homeowners did remodeling work without proper equipment.  It wasn’t until many years later that the health effects of asbestos inhalation manifested itself as lung problems.  You may want to have your building tested in Florence before any major project is began.

 

Health Effects of Exposure to Asbestos

Many years go by before the health effects of asbestos exposure become apparent.  Some people have been exposed to asbestos without knowing it.  Your healthcare provider will need to take a detailed history of your past work experience and potential exposures in order to determine that your illness was caused by asbestos.  Smoking greatly increases the risk of any lung diseases, including asbestos related disease.

If your healthcare provider is suspicious of asbestos as the cause of your illness based on history, they will do many tests to determine the causes including a physical exam, X-rays and potentially biopsies.  Once it is determined you may be suffering from an asbestos related disease, you will likely be referred to a specialist who is an expert in these illnesses.

 

Three of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure are:

  • lung cancer
  • mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest and the abdomen and heart
  • asbestosis, a progressive, long-term, non-cancer disease of the lungs

Regulatory history of asbestos bans

  • In 1973, EPA banned spray-applied surfacing asbestos-containing material for fireproofing/insulating purposes. See National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) at 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M
  • In 1975, EPA banned installation of asbestos pipe insulation and asbestos block insulation on facility components, such as boilers and hot water tanks, if the materials are either pre-formed (molded) and friable or wet-applied and friable after drying. See National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) at 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M
  • In 1978, EPA banned spray-applied surfacing materials for purposes not already banned. See National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) at 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M
  • In 1977, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of asbestos in artificial fireplace embers and wall patching compounds. (See 16 CFR Part 1305 and 16 CFR 1304)
  • In 1989, the EPA issued a final rule under Section 6 of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning most asbestos-containing products. However, in 1991, this rule was vacated and remanded by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, most of the original ban on the manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce for the majority of the asbestos-containing products originally covered in the 1989 final rule was overturned.
    See 40 CFR 763 Subpart I.
  • In 1990, EPA prohibited spray-on application of materials containing more than 1% asbestos to buildings, structures, pipes, and conduits unless certain conditions specified. See National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) at 40 CFR 61, Subpart M are met.