Asbestos vs Fiberglass
The main difference between asbestos and fiberglass is that asbestos is a mineral that occurs naturally and is composed of mainly thin fibers. On the flip side, fiberglass is a mineral made by humans and is composed of thin, long fibers of glass.
These six forms of asbestos are as follows: Chrysotile – Chrysotile is by far the most common type of asbestos. It was used for years in construction, including insulation and roofing. It was also used in manufactured goods such as brake pads.
So, what does this asbestos pipe insulation look like? Typically, it is a white-gray material that people often compare to corrugated paper. … It also wraps pipes and may have a white outer layer made of paper, but the inside is made from traditional pink fiberglass.
Vermiculite insulation is a pebble-like, pour-in product and is usually gray-brown or silver-gold in color.
Generally, 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 and leave it alone.
Direct contact with fiberglass or breathing airborne dust containing fiberglass may irritate the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. The symptoms of irritation are often nonspecific, temporary, and may include itching, coughing, or wheezing.
Generally, asbestos testing kits work in a two-step process. First, after purchasing a low-cost kit at a home improvement center or online, you obtain suspected asbestos from an area of your home. Second, you mail the findings to a laboratory. After a few days, the results are sent back to you.
Although asbestos is not fully banned in the United States, newer homes typically were not built with asbestos-containing materials. Homes built after 1980 are less likely to contain asbestos. However, stockpiles of asbestos-containing materials may have been used into the 1990s.
Vermiculite in insulation is a pebble-like, blown-in product and usually light-brown or gold in color. Sizes of vermiculite products range from very fine particles to large (coarse) pieces nearly an inch long. If you have vermiculite insulation in your attic, you should assume that the material may contain asbestos.
Divide the circumference by pi, normally given as 3.1415. The result is the diameter of the pipe. For example, 2.36 divided by 3.1415 is approximately 0.75, so the diameter of the pipe is 3/4 inch.
Asbestos-containing materials include the following: boiler pipe insulation.” The CPSC recommends encapsulation instead of removal if the pipe insulation is in good shape. The pipes can be wrapped with a special tape.
How can I tell if my vermiculite insulation contains asbestos? The majority of all vermiculite insulation pro- duced before 1990 used contaminated vermicu- lite from Libby. Asbestos fibers in vermiculite are too small to be seen by the naked eye. Only a trained technician using a microscope can see asbestos fibers.
The only way to identify asbestos is through microscopic examination of the material. Vermiculite is a naturally occurring “mica-like” mineral that was mined and processed into attic insulation starting in the 1920’s and ending in the early 1990’s.
Testing Vermiculite for Asbestos: Why the USGS’s New Method Could Be Critical for Public Health. In a breakthrough study, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found a way to test for trace levels of asbestos in vermiculite insulation on-site, which marks a promising development in public health.
These are not unusual roofing projects, but they can be costly. Houses of this era likely contain lead paint and may contain asbestos, usually found around heating pipes in the basement. Appropriate precautions and remediation or removal, if necessary, are recommended.
Asbestos has a higher heat resistance and tensile strength properties when compared to fiberglass. Fiberglass is more temperature resistant than polyamide and cotton, but it isn’t comparable to asbestos in this regard. … However, fiberglass can’t match asbestos in regards to cut resistance.
Improperly Installed Attic Insulation Can Make You Sick
They have a sickening odor which can make people ill after long exposure. If your attic insulation was not installed properly, it is important to rectify the problem immediately to avoid serious health problems.
Fiberglass Insulation Particles Have Low Biopersistence
But a biopersistent fiber doesn’t dissolve in the lungs immediately and stays. … In fact, the typical fiberglass insulation dissolves within 10 days (compare this to over 5,000 days for asbestos insulation of the past).
Sampling does not require an asbestos licence. If it has already broken off, you can take the sample yourself if there is no risk of spreading debris or exposing yourself to dust. Watch where you walk!
Initial analysis uses a stereo microscope which provides a three dimensional view of samples. Each sample is opened within a dust cabinet, placed in a disposable petri dish and examined by eye. Analysts identify fibres by appearance and physical properties.
As we touched upon, the EPA agrees that vermiculite insulation containing less than one percent of asbestos is safe to be used within a home. This sort of vermiculite insulation typically comes in the form of Zonolite, a common form of insulation that appears as pebble-like substances.
If vermiculite is disturbed, it could cause tiny, needle-like asbestos fibers to become airborne. Asbestos in the air can be inhaled and cause lung damage. If asbestos is not in the air, it is not dangerous to your lungs.
It was mined there for more than 50 years, ending in 1990. The insulation, which was known by the brand name Zonolite, is most often found in residential attics. What made the Libby vermiculite so dangerous was its proximity to asbestos deposits.
Out of all people with heavy, prolonged exposure to asbestos, 2% to 10% develop pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of mesothelioma usually do not show until 20-50 years after asbestos exposure, which is when tumors have grown and spread.
Perlite is a porous pumice-like material that looks like white granules. Sometimes perlite is mistaken for tiny plastic foam balls when used in potting soil mixtures.
Chip D’Angelo, president of WCD Consultants, an asbestos remediation company in Pennington, N.J., said fiberglass insulation batts can be installed directly over the existing vermiculite if its surface is sprayed with a mist of water to avoid creating dust, and if a protective breathing mask is worn.
The small bore copper pipes commonly used may only need relatively thin insulation such as 13mm to provide adequate protection. However, if you have an industrial oil or maritime application with large bore outside steam pipes, then a much thicker insulation wall will be required – perhaps up to 50mm thick.
The thickness of your pipe should also determine the thickness of the insulation material. For pipes that are about 3″ or smaller, the insulation should be 1″ thick. For those that are 8 inches and above, the insulation should be 1-1/2″ – 2″ thick.
How to Identify Asbestos Pipes In or Around Your Home