Asbestos: Banned but not Forgotten

Asbestos: Banned but not Forgotten

Peak Construction would like to extend a very warm welcome to our guest contributor Don Swanerbury, our very own Operations Manager. With 43 years of service as a volunteer fire fighter, he currently holds the position as a safety officer and safety instructor. He also has 38 years of industrial and corporate safety which include companies such as KW Control System, (high voltage electrical systems), Bloomberg News, (New York City) and RAD Data Communication, (Network equipment manufacturer).



Asbestos is made up of fine, durable fibers that are resistant to heat, fire and many chemicals. At one time, it was referred to as the “Miracle Mineral”. Asbestos was used in many products, building materials and protective clothing. It is now known that asbestos causes mesothelioma, a fatal cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. Unlike inhalation exposure to dust or chemicals, asbestos is a fiber that attaches to the lining of your lungs and never goes away.



  • Asbestos was used in Cement because the fibers added strength without adding weight. It’s fire resistant properties was also an added benefit.


  • Because asbestos is resistant to heat and fire, it became very desirable to use as electrical insulation for hot plate wiring and building insulation, etc. The fibers could be used in fabric or mats.

In the Home

  • Asbestos is commonly found in older homes for its insulating and fire-resistant properties. You will find it in:
    • Furnace and pipe wraps
    • Floor Covering
    • Roofing
    • Siding
    • Appliances


  • Asbestos is not entirely banned in the US
    • 1971: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), issued and emissions standard for asbestos for the clean air act.
    • 1972: The Asbestos ban was upgraded to an occupational standard.
    • 1989: The EPA enacted the “Asbestos Ban and Phaseout Rule”.
    • 1991: The US Fifth Circuit court of appeals overturned the asbestos ban under pressure of the asbestos industry.
    • Only a few previous asbestos applications remain banned as well as new applications.


  • Research shows that excessive exposure to inhaling asbestos dust can be dangerous to your health, however it should be noted the risk is typically related to exposure while handling asbestos fibers.
  • If the asbestos is in its undisturbed form, tiles, siding, pipe wrapping, etc., there is less of a risk for exposure.
  • When asbestos containing materials are disturbed, is when the danger is present. There are two referenced terms for this:
    • Non-Friable
      • Non-Friable presents a lesser health hazard. The asbestos fibers are
        typically bound or glued in place and this prevents the particles from
        entering the environment.
    • Friable
      • Friable creates an inhalation hazard.  This type is the most dangerous when disturbed because it allows the asbestos dust to float freely around you.
        Friable is the most common cause of mesothelioma.


  • Asbestos has no distinct odor, taste or color which makes it impossible to identify.
  • Only a person certified and knowledgeable in the methods of sampling asbestos should be used to determine if asbestos is present.
  • Samples are sent to an accredited testing lab to confirm the samples that were taken.


  • Due to the nature of health hazards asbestos presents, only licensed companies with certified and trained personal should be used to remove asbestos.
  • Asbestos abatement crews wearing approved personal protective equipment and approved respirators and permitted to work in a contaminated environment.
  • All contaminated debris is placed in approved containment bags
    and sealed.


  • Due to the hazardous nature of Asbestos, the contaminated material cannot be disposed of with regular construction debris.
  • Only approved carting services licensed by the Department of Transportation (DOT), are permitted to pick up, transport and properly dispose of the contaminated material.


  • If you are concerned there may be asbestos in your home or business, call
    Peak Construction at 845-896-5496 and one of our trained technicians,
    will be happy to take samples to determine if there is asbestos present.
  • To have the asbestos removed, call Peak Construction at 845-896-5496 and our team of certified and trained technicians will professionally clean the affected area creating a safe environment for your family or work environment.
Since 1994, Peak Construction has been providing our local community with the best in construction and remodeling services, meeting or exceeding customer expectations. Continuing this tradition, we are now pleased to offer you a safe environment as well through effective Asbestos Abatement services.
Call us for peace of mind
Fishkill: 845-896-5496 and Katonah: 914-277-7300