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What is Asbestos?

The word “asbestos” is the term for six types of naturally occurring minerals. Their physical properties can be useful for several reasons: the minerals are resistant to heat, electrical, and chemical damage, and provide sound absorption and tensile strength. Unfortunately, asbestos can be toxic.

Why is it used?

Because of the unique properties of asbestos, it was most often used in construction and shipbuilding. Concrete, bricks, pipes, cement, gaskets, insulation, flooring, roofing, drywall, lawn furniture, and joint compound at one time all used asbestos as one of their components. This potentially deadly material was also manufactured into automobile brake pads, shoes, and clutch discs.

Is Asbestos Banned in Massachusetts?

Asbestos use was banned by the European Union as of January first, 2005. Most developed countries also follow these guidelines with the exception of the United States, Russia, Canada, and Brazil. In 1991 it was ruled that trace amounts of asbestos can still be legally used in various consumer products. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) limit the amount of asbestos use in certain areas, these agencies have never entirely eliminated the substance from American use.

Massachusetts asbestos exposure

The most common exposure to asbestos in Boston, Massachusetts, and greater New England is to those who work with and around it daily. These work situations include repair and renovation of older buildings, and working on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Family members of these workers as well as those living in the immediate geographical area where the jobs are performed, also carry an additional risk.

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