You can’t tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, unless it is labeled. If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos or have it sampled and analyzed by a qualified professional. A professional should take samples for analysis, since a professional knows what to look for, and because there may be an increased health risk if fibers are released. In fact, if done incorrectly, sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone. Taking samples yourself is not recommended. During your Home Inspection our inspectors will inform you if there is a concern for the presence of Asbestos containing materials. All In One Home Inspection LLC is prepared to take Asbestos samples while performing the Home Inspection and have them analyzed at a certified test laboratory. Breathing asbestos fibers can be dangerous. When disturbed, asbestos breaks down into fibers up to 1,200 times thinner than a human hair. When inhaled, they become trapped in lung tissues. Medical research tells us that up to 30 years after inhalation, asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer or mesothelioma, a related terminal cancer of the tissue lining the chest cavity. Because asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and has been so widely used in manufactured products, including automobile brake linings, it can be found almost everywhere. Trace amounts are in the air we breathe every day. Most of us have asbestos fibers in our lungs. On the other hand, there’s no known safe level of asbestos exposure. That’s why medical, environmental health and regulatory organizations stress the need to protect health by minimizing exposure to airborne asbestos fibers accumulate at elevated levels. Elevated levels result from uncontrolled disturbances and removals of asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos is not always an immediate hazard. In fact, if asbestos can be maintained in good condition, it is recommended that it be left alone and periodic surveillance performed to monitor it’s condition. It’s only when asbestos containing materials are disturbed or the materials become damaged that it becomes a hazard. When the materials become damaged, the fibers separate and may then become airborne. In the asbestos industry, the term ‘friable’ is used to describe asbestos that can be reduced to dust by hand pressure. ‘Non-friable’ means asbestos that is too hard to be reduce to dust by hand. Non-friable materials, such as transite siding and floor tiles are not regulated provided it does not become friable. Machine grinding, sanding and dry-buffing are ways of causing non-friable materials to become friable.