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What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber.  It can be positively identified with a special type of microscope.  In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.

How Can Asbestos Affect My Health?

Studies have shown that people breathing high levels of asbestos fibers in factories and shipyards have an increased risk of lung cancer.

Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos do not develop these health problems.  However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled into the lungs.  Asbestos material that would crumble easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is more likely to create a health hazard.

The risk of lung cancer increases with the number of fibers inhaled and if you smoke.  The symptoms of this disease do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.

What Are The Regulatory Requirements?

Strict adherence to the regulations is required by the Jefferson County Board of Health Air Pollution Control Rules and Regulations.  Inspection for the presence of asbestos-containing materials is required before beginning any demolition or renovation.  Notification must be made to the Air & Radiation Protection Division prior to demolition and renovation projects.  Notification of demolition projects involving industrial, commercial, or institutional buildings, or residential structures larger than four-dwelling units must be made regardless of the presence or absence of asbestos containing material.  Certified asbestos removal contractors, which are registered with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, are required on all asbestos renovation and demolition projects for which the asbestos regulations apply.

For additional information, please call (205) 930-1276.