Quick Tips: Asbestos - EH: Minnesota Department of Health


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What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural mineral fiber and is mined out of the ground. Asbestos is resistant to chemicals and it does not burn. Asbestos has been used in many products and building materials. When asbestos cracks or is broken up, tiny fibers can be released into the air.

Protect yourself from asbestos

Asbestos can become breathable if it is broken up or crumbly. Asbestos fibers can get into your lungs when breathed. Asbestos can cause lung scarring and cancers. There is no known safe amount of asbestos that you can breathe.

Look for asbestos

Look for asbestos labels. Not all asbestos has a label. Asbestos can be found in many things. Asbestos can be in glues, cement board, siding, insulation, caulk, plaster, sheetrock, roofing, vinyl and linoleum flooring and many other things.

Put up asbestos warning signs

If you know a building has asbestos and it is already down, warning signs should be put up to protect people.

An asbestos removal company may have to get rid of the asbestos waste. Asbestos removal companies are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Contact MDH to check on a company. Contact info can be found at:

Get help with asbestos

If you own your own home, you can legally fix and take out asbestos from your home. This work can be dangerous to your health. It is best to get help from an asbestos company.

Take out asbestos before tearing down a building

Any asbestos waste that will break into pieces should be taken out before a building is taken down. Hiring an asbestos company for this is safest. If it won’t come off or if it is not removed, all the waste may have to be taken away to a special dump, called an asbestos landfill.

Get rid of asbestos properly

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has a list of asbestos landfills. They are the only places that can take asbestos.

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Updated Monday, March 30, 2015 at 10:21AM