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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that is mined for commercial use. There are six different types of asbestos, the most common being chrysotile. Asbestos forms are essentially inert. Asbestos is probably the best insulator known to man. Because asbestos has so many useful properties, it has been used in over 3,000 different products. Common Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) include pipe insulation, fireproofing, flooring materials, wall and ceiling materials, siding, and clothing.

When is asbestos dangerous?

ACM is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or microscopic fibers into the air where they can be inhaled. The fibers can become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat where they may be expelled, but some may pass deep into the lungs. Once they are trapped in the lungs, the fibers can cause health problems.

What are the health effects of exposure to asbestos?

Because it is so hard to destroy asbestos fibers, the body cannot break them down or remove them once they are lodged in lung or body tissues. They remain in place where they can cause disease. There are three primary diseases associated with asbestos exposure, Asbestosis, Lung Cancer, and Mesothelioma.

How do I get an Asbestos Inspection Report (AIR)?

An Asbestos Inspection Report (AIR) is required by the Department of Philadelphia Licenses and Inspections (L&I) when applying for a permit for demolition or a renovation that will cost more than $50,000.

This does not apply for demolition of a single residence with three dwelling units or less. The AIR can only be filled out by a certified Philadelphia Asbestos Investigator. If you need an AIR, you must contact a certified Investigator from this list and they can fill one out for you.