A Brief History of Asbestos

Up until the 1980 asbestos was widely used to make construction materials like insulation, plaster, floor or ceiling tiles, adhesives, and many others. In 1973, more than 800,000 tons of asbestos was produced by the US alone. Asbestos was a popular option due to the material’s sound absorption, average tensile strength, affordability, and resistance to fire, heat, and electricity. However, by the end of the 1970s asbestos use took a sharp drop once the link between asbestos and life-threatening diseases was discovered.

Over the next years, countries began to ban the use of asbestos. The European Union imposed a union-wide ban on the substance in 2005, but the US has still not completely banned the substance. Instead of banning asbestos outright, the US has banned seven categories of asbestos-containing materials - spray-applied asbestos, flooring felt, commercial paper, specialty paper, roll board, corrugated paper, and new uses of asbestos.

Due to slow moving legislation, asbestos was still used as recently as 1989. This means buildings and structures built prior to 1989 have a good chance of containing asbestos. While this might sound frightening, asbestos doesn’t pose any risk if it’s left undisturbed. A ceiling tile containing asbestos won’t get anyone sick as long as it isn’t cracked, damaged, moved, and remains in good condition. The dangerous fibers are only released when the tile is damaged. This is why asbestos-containing materials are often left alone until it’s time to demolish or renovate.  

When the time does come to demolish or renovate, precautions must be taken. Anytime asbestos-containing materials are moved or handled, a licensed professional needs to be present. At DT Specialized Services, we have years of experience with asbestos abatement and can assist you with any asbestos-related issue.