Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous material that is commonly used in building materials due to its durability, fireproofing, and low cost. When asbestos-containing materials are disturbed, exposure is dangerous to human health and requires professional assistance during renovation or removal. It is easy for anyone to spot damaged building materials and recognize a potential asbestos threat; what is more difficult to identify and potentially more dangerous is when asbestos is in the topsoil around your home or business.
Asbestos is created by heat and pressure deep within the Earth. The two main categories of asbestos are Serpentine and Amphibole. Asbestos occurs naturally in geologic deposits and is mined for commercial use. This loose mineral can easily become airborne since it is subject to wind and human activity. Asbestos in soil is not only more mobile, but it is less likely to be noticed since asbestos is often associated with disturbed or worn out building materials.
It is a common misconception that asbestos was banned for use in building materials after 1980; however, there are still over 300 asbestos-containing building products, such as roofing materials, insulation, and adhesives, which are still on store shelves today. In fact, asbestos itself is not even fully banned by the Environmental Protection Agency; it is subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act and certain applications of asbestos are forbidden per the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Due to heavy regulation, several building products today no longer contain asbestos because of their high risk of becoming disturbed, airborne and ingested. Once embedded inside the lungs, asbestos can cause lung cancer, asbestosis, and Mesothelioma. If a smoker is exposed to asbestos, their chances of being diagnosed with lung cancer increase by 50 – 90%. When exposed to asbestos, there is usually a latency period of 20-40 years before any symptoms begin to show.
The likelihood that asbestos is naturally occurring in your soil is all dependent upon your location. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with large deposits in California, Utah, Canada, Mexico, India and South Africa. Chrysotile, a type of Serpentine, is actually the California State Rock.
If you live in a region that has asbestos deposits, you may want to hire a professional to perform an asbestos test of the soil around your home or business.
If you are concerned about asbestos potentially being in the soil around your home or business,
Contact Aidan Rector from Andersen Environmental at
(310) 854-6300 to set up asbestos testing today.