ORGIN: Moldex Technical Services Department
DATE: January 21, 1999
REVIEWED/UPDATED: July 2015
Asbestos is a mineral formed by the combination of various elements and silicon. It forms very strong fibers, has fire resistant qualities and can easily be incorporated into other substances (Examples: concrete, clothing and synthetic materials). The most common forms of asbestos are chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite and as asbestiform materials (substances which are chemically bonded with asbestos.)
Asbestos may cause cancer and other serious diseases and is no longer widely used in the United States. However, because it was used in the construction and shipyard industries for walls, drywall, siding, sprayed-on or troweled ceilings and walls, soundproofing, fireproofing, vinyl flooring, ceiling and floor tiles, suspended ceiling tiles, roof shingles, asphalt insulation, high temperature gaskets and valve insulation, it is still present in many old buildings and ships. Other places that asbestos was used include brake pads and filtration and may be present in very old cars and trucks.
Exposure to asbestos should be avoided, because inhalation of asbestos fibers into the respiratory system is hazardous. Asbestos is usually found in a form not meant to release fibers, such as mixed with concrete, insulation and ceiling and floor tiles. Once the fibers are inhaled and reach the lower lung (alveoli), the fibers irritate cells and create scar tissue. Scar tissue impedes the lung’s ability to exchange gases and eventually a condition called asbestosis can result, which causes a severe disability. Also, asbestos can cause lung cancer as well as, a rare and lethal form of cancer of the lining of the lungs called mesothelioma.
When performing work in or near buildings or ships, the employer must determine if asbestos is present in a respirable form. If asbestos is present, the employer must determine the type of protection necessary and provide training and protection for employees.
For more information, refer to OSHA 29CFR1910.1001 for general industry; 29CFR1926.1101 for construction; and 29CFR1915.1001 for shipyards.
For situations where half masks are permissible, Moldex® suggests either the 7940, 7990 for the 7000 or 9000 series. Or for the 8000 series, the 8940 or 8990. You may not use any filtering facepiece to protect against asbestos.
- Ship Building/Renovation
- Floor Tile Repair/Replacement
- Ceiling Repair/Replacement
- Pipe/Duct Insulation Repair
WARNING: The information contained in this Tech Brief is dated and was accurate to the best of Moldex’s knowledge, on the date above. It is not meant to be comprehensive, nor is it intended to be used in place of the warning/use instructions that accompany Moldex respirators. Outside of the USA, check with all applicable and local government regulations.
©2003-2010 Moldex-Metric, Inc. All Rights Reserved.