Operating Systems Home Inspection from A to Z - DVD Flash Videos

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Operating Systems Home Inspection from A to Z - DVD Videos. Real Estate Home Inspection, Appraisal, Energy Saving Home Improvements.-Operating Systems Home Inspection from A to Z - DVD Videos. Real Estate Home Inspection, Appraisal, Energy Saving Home Improvements.


Asbestos and Your Health

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a number of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals that have been mined for their useful properties, such as thermal insulation, chemical and thermal stability, and high tensile strength. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance. The three most common types of asbestos are: a) chrysotile b) amosite, and c) crocidolite. Chrysotile, also known as "white asbestos" and a member of the Serpentine mineral group is the most common. Asbestos can only be identified under a microscope. (So don't let any Realtors tell you there's no asbestos in an older house you want to buy - unless they can prove they have microscopic vision!)

Real Estate Expert Investing Advice FSBO Homeowners House Buyers Sellers Realtors Agents Brokers

Asbestos differs from other minerals in its crystal development. The crystal formation of asbestos is in the form of long thin fibers. Asbestos is divided into two mineral groups - Serpentine and Amphibole. The division between the two types of asbestos is based upon the crystalline structure. Serpentines have a sheet or layered structure where amphiboles have a chain-like structure. As the only member of the serpentine group, Chrysotile (A, B) is the most common type of asbestos found in buildings. Chrysotile makes up approximately 90%-95% of all asbestos contained in buildings in the United States.

In the amphibole group, there are five types of asbestos. As an acronym for the Asbestos Mines of South Africa, Amosite is the second most prevalent type of asbestos found in building materials. Amosite is also known as "brown asbestos. " Next, there is Crocidolite or "blue asbestos," which is an asbestos found in specialized high temperature applications. The other three types, Anthophyllite, Tremolite and Actinolite, are rare and found mainly as contaminants in other minerals. Asbestos deposits can be found throughout the world and are still mined in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the former Soviet Union.


How To Identify Materials That Contain Asbestos

Real Estate Expert Investing Advice FSBO Homeowners House Buyers Sellers Realtors Agents Brokers      You can't tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, unless it is labeled. (So don't let any Realtors tell you, "Oh, don't worry Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, I've been a real estate agent for many years and I know what asbestos looks like and there's definitely none in this house. Take my word for it!") If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos or have it sampled and analyzed by a qualified professional. A professional should take samples for analysis, since a professional knows what to look for, and because there may be an increased health risk if fibers are released. In fact, if done incorrectly, sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone. Taking samples yourself is not recommended. If you nevertheless choose to take the samples yourself, take care not to release asbestos fibers into the air or onto yourself. 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. Anyone who samples asbestos-containing materials should have as much information as possible on the handling of asbestos before sampling, and at a minimum, should observe the following procedures:

  • Make sure no one else is in the room when sampling is done.

  • Wear disposable gloves or wash hands after sampling.

  • Shut down any heating or cooling systems to minimize the spread of any released fibers.

  • Do not disturb the material any more than is needed to take a small sample.

  • Place a plastic sheet on the floor below the area to be sampled.

  • Wet the material using a fine mist of water containing a few drops of detergent before taking the sample. The water/detergent mist will reduce the release of asbestos fibers.

  • Carefully cut a piece from the entire depth of the material using, for example, a small knife, corer, or other sharp object. Place the small piece into a clean container (for example, a 35 mm film canister, small glass or plastic vial, or high quality re-sealable plastic bag).

  • Tightly seal the container after the sample is in it.

  • Carefully dispose of the plastic sheet. Use a damp paper towel to clean up any material on the outside of the container or around the area sampled. Dispose of asbestos materials according to State and local procedures.

  • Label the container with an identification number and clearly State when and where the sample was taken.

  • Patch the sampled area with the smallest possible piece of duct tape to prevent fiber release.

  • Send the sample to an asbestos analysis laboratory accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). A directory of NVLAP accredited laboratories is available on the NVLAP web site at https://ts.nist.gov/ts/htdocs/210/214/214.htm. Your State or local health department may also be able to help.

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