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What is asbestos and where does it come from?

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QuestionI'm always hearing about asbestos and its hazards, but I don't really know what asbestos is. What is asbestos? Where does it come from?

AnswerAsbestos is a fibrous mineral that is mined in the same way as copper, iron, and lead. It's a compound of silicon, oxygen, hydrogen, and various metal cations (positively charged metal ions).

There are many varieties of asbestos; the three most common are chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite. Chrysotile was first commercially mined in the 1870s in Quebec, Canada. Amosite was first mined in South Africa in 1916, and crocidolite asbestos also came from Africa beginning in the 1980s.

Unlike most minerals which turn into dust particles when crushed, asbestos breaks up into fine fibers too small to be seen by the naked eye. Since an average human hair is approximately 1200 times thicker than an asbestos fiber, it takes an extremely powerful microscope to see the fibers.

Asbestos fibers are commonly mixed with other materials which bind them together so they can be used in many different building products. If these light hard-to-see fibers are released from an asbestos containing material (ACM), they will remain in the air for hours.

I've been in the construction field for over 25 years and wish I'd known then what I know now about asbestos. I would not have tackled a lot of projects because of the asbestos content of certain building products.

To get the whole picture, I recommend that you purchase my informative article, Asbestos In Popcorn Ceilings, which describes how to determine if asbestos is present and the steps a professional takes to decide if removal is the correct course of action. These same steps apply to homeowners facing the same decisions.

Purchase this article to learn about asbestos in popcorn ceiling and how to patch them!The article describes the steps a professional takes to decide if removal is the correct course of action. These same steps apply to homeowners facing the same decisions.

Included are links to government and state agencies where you can get more information on the subject, locate state-certified professional asbestos contractors for removal, and find other documents that address removing the asbestos yourself.

As an added bonus, Patching a Popcorn Ceiling has been added to Asbestos In Popcorn Ceilings to help those who need to make repairs to their ceilings. The process is about the same whether the ceiling contains asbestos or not; however, for your own peace of mind, you still need to determine if your ceiling contains asbestos, and the article describes procedures to follow to safely take a sample for testing.

Click to Purchase Don't forget—before starting this project get your informative 10-page PDF article titled Asbestos In Popcorn Ceilings and Patching a Popcorn Ceiling. To order your downloadable .pdf printable copy, click here or click the purchase button to the left!

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Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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