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Dangers of Asbestos

The most common way for asbestos fibres to enter the body is through breathing. In fact, asbestos containing material is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or fibres into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested. Many of the fibres will become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat where they can be removed, but some may pass deep into the lungs or, if swallowed, into the digestive tract. Once they are trapped in the body, the fibres can cause health problems.Asbestos is most hazardous when it is friable. The term "friable" means that the asbestos is easliy crumbles by hand, releasing fibres into the air. Sprayed on asbestos insulation is highly friable. Asbestos floor tile is not.Asbestos containing ceiling tiles, floor tiles, undamaged laboratory cabinet tops, shingles, fire doors, siding shingles etc. will not release asbestos fibres unless they are broken. They may, for example, release fibres into the air when damaged or drilled. If they are left alone and not disturbed, they will not.Damage and deterioration will increase the friability of asbestos containing materials. Water damage, continual vibration, agingand physical impact such as drilling, grinding, cutting, sawing or striking can break materials down making fibre release more likely

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