What is Asbestos?
Asbestos refers to six naturally occurring fibrous minerals; chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, termolite and actinolite. Among these, chrysotile and amosite asbestos are the most common. Although these are microscopic in nature, they are extremely durable and resistant to fire and chemical reactions/breakdowns.
Why is Asbestos Hazardous?
The property of durability is what makes asbestos hazardous. The fibers are microscopic (roughly .02 the diameter of human hair), which are easily inhaled. Once inhaled, fibers cling to the respiratory system, including the lining of the lungs and inner cavity tissue. They become lodged and are cannot be broken down or expelled easily by the body. Today, asbestos is classified as a known human carcinogen.
Asbestos in HVAC?
Prior to 1970, asbestos paper duct wrap were usually applied to the exterior of metal heating ducts in buildings. These were used on seals of the air ducts. Any openings in the duct would leak hot air out and suck in fibers from the wrap into the air path. If these paper wraps were to rip or be near an opening, it could ventilate fibers throughout the household.
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