Asbestos

Where is Asbestos Found in the Charlotte area?

Asbestos products were used in many construction products long before the health hazards were known.  It was used in materials that required strength and heat resistance such as roofing shingles, insulation, ceilings, wall boards, floor tiles, paper products, plaster and cement products. It could also be found in fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. Asbestos containing materials could be found in all types of commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Buildings constructed in or around Charlotte can be old enough to have these materials in them, predating the EPA bans on asbestos.

Where can asbestos 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 walls 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 Charlotte?

Most people become exposed to asbestos by inhalation of the fibers during work which disturbes asbestos.  When commercial, industrial buildings or homes are remodeled or demolished, the asbestos can be released into the air and inhaled if the surrounding people are not properly protected. If your home in Charlotte was built prior to the EPA ban of asbestos, you should have it tested before beginning any major projects or repair to avoid potential exposure.

 

How we detect asbestos

Here at Pinnacle, we use the most advanced techniques to detect asbestos. We employ multiple techniques such as Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) and  Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to identify asbestos down to a tenth of a micrometer. Using the same methods as the EPA, we are able to deliver precise results, giving you peace of mind and confidence in your test.

 

Health Effects of Exposure to Asbestos

The amount of asbestos exposure usually correlates to the degree of health effects.  These health effects can take a long time before they manifest, causing symptoms.

Asbestos exposure increases your risk for lung disease and cancer.  This risk is increased with smoking.

It is not always obvious whether a patient’s disease was caused by asbetos because exposure often happens unknowingly or a very long time ago.  Your healthcare provider will need a very thorough history of your work and environment in order to determing if asbestos could be causing your health problems.

If your healthcare provider is suspicious of an asbestos-related illness, he or she can use a number of diagnostic tests to help make the diagnosis. Some of these tests are physical examination, chest x-ray and pulmonary function tests. Further tests may require a biopsy of the lung if you are having pulmonary complaints. You may also be referred to a specialist who treats diseases caused by asbestos.

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.