Monday, September 23, 2013

Asbestos: Its History and Facts

Asbestos fibers pose a health hazard to occupants
Translating to "inextinguishable" in Greek, asbestos is made up of oxygen, hydrogen and other metal ions. The needle shaped fibers that are a part of the dangerous substance cannot be seen by the naked eye unless the concentration in the air is very thick. The three most common forms of asbestos fibers are chrysolite, amosite and crocidolite. Asbestos became popular back in the 19th century because of its resistance to fire, heat and electrical damage. There are a variety of building components that contain asbestos such as pipe, block and cement insulation, friction materials including brakes and clutches, ceiling tiles, and others. Asbestos becomes very harmful when these materials break, fall apart or get into the air. When materials containing asbestos are released into the air, the chemicals released can stay airborne for a long period of time. This allows the substance to be inhaled by people and cause damage in the lungs, known as mesothelioma.

The Federal government put a delay on the production of asbestos in the early 1970's. However, products containing asbestos continued to be installed throughout the 1970's into the 1980's. The first case of asbestos-related disease and lung cancer associated with Asbestos involvement was diagnosed in the United States in 1906. Years later, researchers began to notice a large number of asbestos-related lung problems in mining towns. In 1939, the Congressional Library of Congress published its first book on the cancer-causing effects of asbestos. Of those who have been exposed to asbestos through their occupation, there is a long period before symptoms (of a malignant case) appear in humans, about 12-20 years. There are studies that confirm a higher risk of asbestos cancer in smokers than in non-smokers. The use of asbestos was completely banned in the United States in December 2003.

Green Education Services offers a selection of asbestos courses required that accredit individuals and builders working in an asbestos containing environment. Appropriate training is very important in the safety and health-conscious planning, remediation and timing in an asbestos removal project.

Many buildings and homes built today do not contain asbestos material because of the proven health hazards. Asbestos-containing materials that are not broken or damaged are not likely to pose a health risk to humans. Asbestos containing materials release harmful chemicals into the air when the material is damaged in some way. For slightly damaged asbestos material, it is best to avoid touching or going near it. If changes are to be made in a home or building that might contain asbestos,  professionals are required to repair or remove the material. There are two main accredited asbestos professionals that are legally trained to handle Asbestos-containing material. Asbestos inspectors inspect a home or building, review conditions, take samples of suspected materials and advise the safety precautions. Asbestos contractors repair and remove asbestos materials.

A list of the some of the Asbestos-related courses GreenEDU offers are:
  • Asbestos Awareness
  • Asbestos Contractor/Supervisor
  • Asbestos Worker/Handler
  • Asbestos Inspector
  • Asbestos Management Planner
  • Asbestos Operations & Maintenance
  • Asbestos Project Designer
  • Asbestos Air Sampling Technician
A list of FAQ about Asbestos certification can be found here.

View all of GreenEDU's Asbestos Training dates and locations at