It is easy to make an assumption that asbestos exposure is truly a thing of the past and majority of Americans think that asbestos had been banned since a long time ago. However, this is so far away from the actual reality that we have to face today. Asbestos use is highly regulated in the U.S. but it is far from being banned. Only certain products like flooring felt, commercial paper, and spray-on insulation are banned from containing any traces of asbestos. Other products which mostly are construction materials are still legally allowed to contain asbestos. Several buildings may still contain asbestos so let us explore more about these structures.
Church buildings mainly make use of asbestos for soundproofing and prevention of fire. Soundproofing is not often associated with the reason why people add asbestos to products but this mineral is added to most acoustical panels due to its durability. Acoustical panels used to be fixed onto walls as well as on ceilings to cushion echoes and music that is played in churches.
Asbestos is so widespread in schools that the United States government came up with a separate set of regulations in the year 1986 to safeguard children and school staff from the ill-effects of asbestos. The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires that schools inspect their building for materials that contain asbestos, produce asbestos management plans, and take necessary action to reduce asbestos exposure.
Any public building that was build before 1980s is most likely to contain traces of asbestos through the use of construction materials that contain asbestos. However, newer buildings may also contain asbestos as roofing materials, cement piping, and vinyl tiles are manufactured with asbestos. Several examples of public buildings that contain asbestos are police stations, restaurants, government buildings, movie theaters, hair salons, barbershops, airports, and shopping malls.
Hospital buildings made use of asbestos to help in the prevention of fires as well as keeping of medical equipment from overheating. Any hospital staff may come into contact with these products but the workers to be at full risk of asbestos exposure are maintenance workers. Insulation, HVAC, and floor tiles of hospitals are where asbestos is usually found.
There is a high chance that our home contains traces of asbestos even when it had just been built. People often relate asbestos with older homes, but numerous newer homes are also built with asbestos materials. The most common construction materials today that still contain asbestos include sheets and pipes, cement shingles, flooring and roofing materials, millboard, and pipeline wrap. Hundreds of older construction materials were manufactured with asbestos products and they include insulation, ceilings, plumbing fixtures, vinyl tiles, plaster, electrical panels, and drywall.
Regardless of where you are, always be aware of your surroundings. Do not perform asbestos removal on your own as its fibers may get unknowingly released into the air waiting for you to inhale.