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How do I know if there's asbestos in a building?

Identifying asbestos can be very difficult for people without the proper training, tools and testing. In fact, many people have asbestos in their home, school or office building without even realizing it.

However, it can be crucial to understand what asbestos looks like and where it is commonly found in order to minimize or avoid exposure. Because the fiber was used in many building materials over the course of decades, there is a very real possibility that there is asbestos in buildings all across North Carolina. 

The British Lung Foundation notes that there are three different types of asbestos: blue, white and brown. The fibers are typically mixed in with other materials, so it can be nearly impossible to see asbestos with the naked eye, though it can also look like fluffy insulation.

Even if you can't see the asbestos itself, you can see products that may contain asbestos. Because it was used as an inexpensive way to fireproof materials and provide insulation, asbestos is commonly found in floor tiles, pipe coatings, walls, roofs, gaskets and plumbing. If you are going to complete construction work near these products or if you start to see them getting disturbed or crumbled, it can be crucial to consult a party who is certified and trained in testing for and identifying asbestos.

Seeing asbestos fibers can be nearly impossible; but knowing what it is and where it can often be found can help people identify potential hazards and have them inspected. If the materials are properly contained or removed, they will not pose a threat to people who may be at risk of being exposed.

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