Asbestos in Bulk Material

Asbestos is a collection of naturally occurring silicate minerals with thin fibrous crystal growth. Once an affordable material known for its sound, heat, electrical insulation, and fire resistivity, asbestos was used primarily in building materials. Asbestos has also been used in a wide range of housing materials including roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper and cement products. Nevertheless, all types of asbestos are known to cause serious health hazards, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

There are two main types of asbestos containing materials: friable and non-friable samples. Friable materials (analyzed by PLM) pose greater health risks, as they tend to crumble easily releasing asbestos fibers into the air.

Non-friable samples(analyzed by PLM and TEM), however, have organic matrices that bind asbestos fibers in place and are less likely to release contents into the air upon damage and alterations. Ultimately, non-friable samples do pose airborne health risks.

For further reading about asbestos, its uses, and health risks visit the Environmental Protection Agencies website.

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