Identifying Asbestos: How to Identify Toxic Materials


Identifying asbestos is critical for the safety of workers during any demolition, remodeling or building project. Asbestos use is common within certain older buildings and properties, installed around pipes, heaters and boilers, and was used in many insulation applications. Even if ubiquitous, asbestos materials are extremely hazardous as they age and deteriorate. When asbestos fibers are disturbed, toxic dust enters the air and can be inhaled, leading to serious health complications such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

For safety reasons, it is important to be able to identify dangerous substances, though professionals are always recommended when handling asbestos materials. A qualified asbestos surveyor should be used to confirm if material contains asbestos and conduct a risk assessment.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio personal injury lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of toxic tort and mesothelioma claims.


Identifying Asbestos Uses & Applications

Asbestos is relatively simple to extract, inexpensive, available in large quantities, and has a number of beneficial properties:

•    Asbestos is an excellent insulation material (both for acoustic and thermal applications)
•    Asbestos is very strong when mixed with other ingredients like cement
•    Asbestos is almost completely resistant to fire
•    Asbestos can withstand chemical attacks


How to Identify Asbestos

There may be dangerous asbestos materials in any older building in the U.S. built before 1980. If notice the following when identifying asbestos, it may be prudent to contact a professional to help assess the risk and need of abatement.

•    Asbestos Insulation Board was commonly used in walls, building façades, ceilings, fire-proofing, and elevator shafts. It can be found in kitchens and bathrooms. Sometimes the material has been coated with paint or clad with tiles.
•    Ceiling Tiles may contain asbestos and there are several different types. When dealing with older ceiling tiles it is best to wait for a professional to identify the type.
•    Asbestos Cement products were widely used due to the product longevity. Products include roofing sheets, roof tiles, flues and drainage pipes.
•    Asbestos Corrugated Cement Roofing Sheets were used in a number of applications including garages, sheds and commercial buildings.
•    Vinyl Tiles containing asbestos were used until the 1980s. Often hidden beneath other flooring, asbestos tiles were commonly used prior to more decorative finishes.
•    Asbestos Sheet Vinyl was used as a backing material or as a decorative finish. These may be found in toilet seats, cisterns or window sills.
•    Asbestos Textured Coatings were used to cover walls and ceilings from the 1960s until the 1980s. A well-known brand of textured coating that did contain asbestos was Artex. The patterns used for textured coatings included swirls and circles.
•    Asbestos Pipe Insulation was used to insulate hot water pipes, both in commercial and residential properties. The insulation coated the outside of pipes and often wrapped in a protective coating or painted, making it difficult to identify.
•    Asbestos Loose Fill insulation is among the most dangerous forms. It was used to insulate floors and walls in primarily commercial buildings. It was also used in the ship-building industry. Loose fill asbestos usually has a blue-grey or white in color, and looks similar to candy floss.

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Asbestos Roofing

Ohio Buildings Containing Asbestos Material

•    Schools
•    Universities
•    Hospitals
•    Steel Manufacturing facilities
•    Power plants
•    Paper Mills
•    Auto plants
•    Shipyards
•    Oil refineries
•    Chemical plants
•    Detention centers


The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis can lay dormant for decades, and symptoms may not present themselves until many years after exposure. When they do appear, symptoms may include the following:

•    Pain in the chest
•    Pain in the lower back
•    Trouble breathing
•    Coughing
•    Fever
•    Excessive sweating
•    Fatigue
•    Weight loss
•    Trouble swallowing


Ohio Asbestos Lawsuits

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If you or a loved one suffered an asbestos-related illness, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding Identifying asbestos.