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Abstract

The following is taken from a 1985 EPA publication (EPA/530-SW-85-007, May 1985). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have been concerned with the potential health hazards associated with exposure to asbestos since the early 1970s. The concern is based on medical evidence relating to exposure of airborne asbestos by asbestos workers and their families to various types of cancer as well as noncancerous respiratory diseases………

Description of Asbestos: Asbestos is a naturally occurring family of fibrous mineral substance. The typical size of asbestos fibers………is 0.1 to 10 µm in length……… when disturbed, asbestos fibers may become suspended in the air for many hours, thus increasing the extent of asbestos exposure for individuals within the area.

EPA regulations identify the following types of asbestos: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, actinolite, and tremolite. Approximately 95 percent of all asbestos used in commercial products is chrysotile………asbestos fibers have been mixed with various types of binding materials to create an estimated 3,000 different commercial products. Asbestos has been used in brake linings, floor tile, sealants, plastics, cement pipe, cement sheet, paper products, textile products, and insulation. The amount of asbestos contained in these products varies significantly, from 1 to 100 percent, depending on the particular use.

The potential of an asbestos-containing product to release fibers is dependent upon its degree of friability. Friability means that the material can be crumbled with hand pressure and, therefore, is likely to emit fibers. The fibrous or fluffy spray-applied asbestos materials

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