Asbestos is a general term for a group of fibrous minerals (primarily chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite) that have long been used as fireproof insulation and as a strengthener in pipe insulation, roofing tiles, floor tiles,wall coverings and other materials. Undisturbed asbestos-containing material (ACM) is not dangerous. But when asbestos-containing material is broken or torn, as during remodeling or demolition, the fibers can be spread into the air, especially if the material is friable (crumbly).
Studies have shown that inhaling high concentrations of these fibers can over time cause a disease called asbestosis, lung cancer and another type of cancer called mesothelioma. In asbestosis, delicate lung tissue is damaged by the body's own attempts to remove embedded fibers. Mesothelioma can develop in the lining (pleura) of the lung or in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). Symptoms of lung cancer or mesothelioma usually do not appear for 15 to 30 years after exposure; for asbestosis, the latency period is 25 to 40 years.
Special training and equipment are required to remove asbestos-containing material safely. For this reason, federal and local regulations require a permit and the use of a licensed contractor for removal of asbestos-containing material from any structure other than a private residence.
The APCD asbestos team issues permits, inspects asbestos removal sites and investigates reports of illegal asbestos removal. If you have questions about asbestos or if you observe improper removal or disposal of asbestos, feel free to contact us.
For asbestos sign-offs and releases, walk-ins are welcome during these hours:
- Monday: 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m.
- Tuesday: 1-5 p.m.
- Wednesday: 8 a.m. to noon
- Thursday: 1-5 p.m.
- Friday: 8 a.m. to noon