What is friable asbestos and how does it differ from non-friable asbestos?

Nov 15, 2023 | What is asbestos | 0 comments

Asbestos, before its ban in 2002, was used in the construction of various materials. This material can be of two types, friable and non-friable. In this entry we explain their differences and the reason for their danger.

What is a friable material

It is that material that can be easily dismantled or disintegrated , even by pressing with the hand.

In relation to asbestos, friable asbestos contains fibers that are not bonded with any other material, so its fibers come off easily just by touching them. On the other hand, non-friable asbestos requires mechanical elements to decompose it, this is because its fibers are mixed with other materials such as cement.

Non-friable asbestos is usually found in sheets of uralite, while friable asbestos is usually foam that is placed on a surface.

Why is friable asbestos dangerous?

Although asbestos in general is dangerous, friable asbestos is the most dangerous for human health, because it is a toxic material that is very easy to detach and be adhered to by people.

In the case of non-friable asbestos, its fibers only spread through the air when the material is broken. This is much more resistant and usually requires a tool or a blow to occur. Therefore, friable asbestos, in which the fibers dissolve without the need to break the material, is much more dangerous.

This is why it is important to carry out an asbestos census to detect this material that is so harmful to all of us.

What has this material been used for?

Its use was carried out for years as an insulating material in parking lots, boiler rooms, heating ducts… And these, being “service” places, were projected directly onto the surface, leaving it in the open air.

As they dry over the years, the friable asbestos fibers break off very easily, remaining suspended in the air we breathe.

Other types of materials are:

  • Facade mortar
  • Paintings
  • Insulators made of cardboard or cellulose
  • Fibers for acoustic and thermal insulation.

How is this type of asbestos removed?

During the removal of materials with friable asbestos, safety measures must be extreme and decontamination must be thorough because many more asbestos fibers are released and the risk of inhalation and contamination of surfaces increases.

To safely eliminate it, a process called dynamic confinement must be used. To achieve this, it is important to have a company approved for asbestos removal, both to guarantee that the removal of friable asbestos is carried out correctly, avoiding the release of asbestos particles, and to guarantee the decontamination of the area after its removal.

What to do if friable asbestos is detected?

First of all, we must avoid touching it or trying to remove it. No matter how dangerous it is to live with this material, the risk and danger will be greater if you try to remove it yourself.

To be able to carry it out, adequate and specialized protective equipment is necessary, since the particles disperse very quickly and are in the air, so you could become much more intoxicated if you do it in any way.

Furthermore, due to its danger, the regulations establish that a company specialized in asbestos removal must be called. To do this, carrying out a correct asbestos removal schedule is very important to have everything under current regulations.

In this way, with the necessary training, permits and tools, they will take care of removing it so that it does not continue to be part of the home and is not a risk for people.

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