What is asbestos?
What building materials contain asbestos?
- Window glazing
- Cement pipes
- Cement board / transite
- Duct tape / paper
- Furnace insulation
- Vinyl sheet flooring and mastic
- Vinyl floor tile and mastic
- Poured flooring
- Pipe insulation and fittings
- Plaster wall joints
- Textured coatings and paints
- Ceiling tiles, panels, and mastics
- Spray-applied insulation
- Blown-in insulation
- Sink insulation
- Packing materials
- High-temperature gaskets
- Lab hoods and table tops
- Fire blankets
- Fire curtains and hoses
- Elevator brake shoes
- Asphalt flooring
- Paper backing on fiberglass insulation
- Laboratory fume hoods
- Paper in wall-mounted fireboxes
- Toilet tanks and bowls
- Fire doors
- HVAC duct insulation
- Boiler/tank insulation
- Breaching insulation
- Ductwork flexible connectors
- Construction mastics
- Acoustical ceiling texture (popcorn)
- Electrical panel partitions
- Electrical cloth
- Electrical wiring insulation
- Roofing shingles
- Built-up roofing
- Base flashing
- Rolled roofing
- Caulking and putties
- Incandescent light fixture backing
- Joint compound and wallboard
- Brick mortar
- Vinyl wall coverings
- Vapor barriers
- Cement roofing shingles
- Gray roofing paint
- Nicolet (white) roofing paper
- Sub-flooring slip sheeting
- Mudded pipe elbow insulation
This list is not intended to show all products that contained asbestos, and an accredited AHERA building inspector should be consulted for final recommendations.
How can I identify what materials in my building contain asbestos?
All asbestos sampling performed by Hawk Environmental Services is carried out pursuant to 40 CFR 763.86 as required by both AHERA and ASHARA. All samples will be collected by an AHERA accredited asbestos building inspector and analyzed by polarized light microscopy by a laboratory accredited by the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). All asbestos samples are taken under the wet-removal method to limit the likelihood of airborne particles being released from materials containing asbestos.
Notes and terms you may find in your report detailing what materials contain asbestos:
- Homogeneous Sampling Area: An area of suspected asbestos-containing building materials that appears similar throughout in color, texture, and date of material application.
- Thermal System Insulation: Material applied to pipes, fittings, boilers, breachings, tanks, ducts, or other interior structural components to prevent heat loss or gain or water condensation, or for other purposes.
- Surfacing Material: Material that is sprayed-on, troweled-on, of otherwise applied to surfaces, such as acoustical plaster on ceilings and fireproofing materials on structural members, or other materials on surfaces for acoustical, fireproofing, or other purposes.
- Miscellaneous Material: Interior building material on structural components, structural members, or fixtures, such as floor and ceiling tiles, not including thermal system insulation or surfacing materials.
How many asbestos samples do you need?
1) What is the scope of the project?
To determine what materials need to be tested for asbestos, first we need to know what areas of the building will be disturbed. Are you simply planning to scrape popcorn ceilings from a bedroom, will you be completely demolishing the property, or is this a planned remodel that is limited to one or more rooms? A certified AHERA inspector can help you to determine exactly what materials may contain asbestos and how many samples are required.
2) What potentially asbestos-containing materials (PACM) may be disturbed?
Once you have discussed the scope of your project with the inspector, he/she will walk through the site, document all of the PACMs, and separate them into homogeneous testings groups. A thorough listing of all PACMs is crucial to a professional report that will protect the health and legal liabilities of all parties involved.
3) What category do these PACMs fall into?
The EPA divides potentially asbestos-containing materials into three distinct categories, and uses those categories to determine how many samples are required. Properly identifying and categorizing the building materials is essential in assuring a professional report with a limited scope and cost of asbestos testing.
Materials that are sprayed, troweled-on, or otherwise applied to surfaces (such as acoustical plaster on ceilings, wall textures, fireproofing on structural members etc.).
Thermal surface insulation (TSI):
Materials applied to pipes, fittings, boilers, breechings, tanks, ducts, or other components to prevent heat loss or heat gain.
All other building materials that may contain asbestos (vinyl flooring, wall board, acoustic ceiling tiles, window glazing etc.).
4) How many samples of these PACMs will be needed?
Due to the nonhomogeneous nature of these materials (they were usually mixed on-site and may not be the same throughout), the EPA requires a certain number of random samples per square foot:
- 0-1,000 square feet: three randomized samples
- 1,000-5,000 square feet: five randomized samples
- 5,000+ square feet: seven or more randomized samples
Thermal surface insulation (TSI):
- At least three bulk samples from each homogeneous area
- One bulk sample from patched areas of 6 linear feet or less
- At least one sample per homogeneous area
- More samples may be needed at the AHERA inspector’s discretion
When do you need our help?
What qualifications are required for asbestos consultation?
How are the samples analyzed?
Can I take the samples myself and send them to a lab?
What will my report include?
Your site survey will include:
- 1) A list of potentially asbestos-containing materials (PACMs)
- 2) A floor plan showing all sample locations
- 3) Photos of the testing sites
- 4) Results from the lab