Becoming Asbestos Free

Asbestos;  a group of fibrous naturally occurring materials which were used widely in building materials because of its ability to bind, resist chemicals, insulate, and fireproof.  Discovered by the ancient Egyptians, Asbestos has been used for more than 5,000 years.  Named by the Ancient Greeks, the name meaning “inextinguishable”. The Greeks  noted harmful biological effects in particular a “sickness of the lungs” in the slaves that wove asbestos into cloth. Asbestos would come to the fore in the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s. It then began to be used as insulation for steam pipes, turbines, boilers, kilns, ovens, and other high-temperature products. Ancient observations of the health risks of asbestos were either forgotten or ignored.

At the turn of the twentieth century, researchers began to notice a large number of deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns. In 1917 and 1918, it was observed by several studies in the United States that asbestos workers were dying unnaturally young.

Today, many buildings and industrial facilities contain asbestos products; flame retardant structural fireproofing, thermal system insulation, acoustical treatments, drywall joint compound, cement panels, floor tile, sheet flooring, mastics and adhesives and hundreds of other products are asbestos containing.

Choosing to live ‘asbestos free’ is an important decision; a decision that may require significant technical, logistical and financial resources. Deciding when and where to start are big decisions, the ‘who’ maybe the biggest. GPAC looks forward in sharing the benefit of its three decades of environmental remediation experience with your next project.

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