Asbestos in adhesives was commonly used to help bond carpet, flooring and ceiling tiles in buildings built prior to the 1980s. Asbestos in adhesives was also used to patch and seal joints on boilers and pipes. Asbestos was used in these products because it created a strong bond to a variety of surfaces that could withstand extreme heat and even fire.
It can be found in houses, schools, commercial buildings, transport vehicles, factories and sea vessels. Asbestos has been used in adhesives since the early 1900s.
Asbestos in adhesives
The adhesive materials used in numerous homes, schools and commercial buildings may have contained between 1 and 25 percent asbestos, depending on the type and the purpose for which it was used. Products with asbestos in adhesives can become hazardous when the asbestos fibers are released into the air. This usually occurs when the adhesives break down over time. Additionally, during renovation, demolition or regular construction, these materials can also be damaged. Asbestos-containing seals may wear down and can flake or peel away.
So, though the use of several asbestos products declined in the 1980s because of serious health and safety concerns, the mineral can still be found in some adhesive agents used in homes and commercial buildings today
The various types of adhesives known to contain asbestos include:
Asphaltic cutback adhesive
This is also called furnace cement or stove cement and is a type of joint compound and adhesive used in areas exposed to extreme heat. Furnace cement may be used in boilers, stoves, chimneys, kilns, refractories and manufacturing plants.
Commonly available in the form of tape (similar to duct tape) and sprayable adhesive, this is a case where asbestos in adhesives were often used in HVAC systems to prevent cool or warm air from escaping and affecting the temperature of a climate-controlled home or building.
This liquid form was typically applied with a brush or sprayer. Through the years, fibrous forms of asbestos-contaminated adhesive often broke down, which generated dust. The dust created by the crumbling fibrous adhesive often allowed toxic asbestos particles to enter the air, where they presented a serious health hazard to individuals nearby.
Seals are used to prevent leaking in roofing materials by joining roofing shingles together. Seals, or packing, protect the roofs of homes and other structures against high temperatures and caustic substances. Roof seals prevent leaking and weather damage and have been used to protect against bleaching, cracking, UV exposure and rain damage.
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