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Friability issues and asbestos injuries

| Mar 2, 2021 | Asbestos |

Perhaps you work in a North Carolina shipyard or on a railroad. You might also be one of thousands of people who work as a heavy machinery or auto mechanic, or in the construction or agricultural industry. There’s plenty of career diversity throughout the state. If you work in one of the fields mentioned, you may be at risk for certain on-the-job injuries caused by asbestos.

While these jobs aren’t the only ones where asbestos-related injuries occur, they often rank high on most lists showing types of jobs that place workers at great risk for asbestos-related illnesses. It’s possible that you might face exposure to materials containing asbestos without becoming ill. However, there is no safe amount of asbestos exposure, meaning even a single exposure can result in injury.

Understanding friability may help you improve safety

Friability is a term often used in conjunction with asbestos-related issues. The more you learn about friability, the better able you might be to avoid asbestos injuries. When you can easily crumble a specific material, it is “friable.” The more friable a material is, the greater the risk of asbestos injury there is.

What types of materials are usually the most friable?

If you come in contact with thermal system insulation (TSI) on the job, you’ll want to be especially cautious about avoiding asbestos exposure. Things like water pipes, boilers and ductwork often have TSI lining. This type of material is typically highly friable and also often contains high levels of asbestos, which can be a dangerous combination.

If such materials are existent in your workplace, your employer undoubtedly understands the importance of repairing or abating damaged TSI in order to keep you and your coworkers as safe as possible.

Home renovation materials can also be friable

If you live in an older home or apartment, you might have popcorn ceilings. In addition to plaster walls and spray-on fireproofing, popcorn ceilings are high risk for potential asbestos problems. If such materials get wet, then dry, they are easy to crumble. In other words, they are highly friable.

Living or working in an area that contains such materials means you are in danger of exposure to asbestos. If you suspect that a particular area or material contains asbestos, it’s always best to avoid trying to resolve the problem on your own. There are companies with certified abatement specialists who can test an area for asbestos, as well as safely remove materials that are creating a risk.

Non-friable does not always mean risk-free

If you have vinyl flooring in your home or workplace, it’s an example of a non-friable material. However, vinyl flooring often contains asbestos. While you may not be able to crumble a slab of vinyl floor by applying hand pressure, it doesn’t mean you are not at risk for asbestos injury.

Non-friable materials may be less of a risk than highly friable materials, but they are still a risk. If you believe you’ve had exposure to asbestos, it’s critically important to closely monitor your health for symptoms of asbestosis, mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses.

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