Asbestos is tiny mineral fibers that are chemically treated and modified, and are resistant to heat, fire, chemicals and corrosion that had been used across the board in various industries. There are six types of asbestos: chrysotile (white asbestos- found in roofs, ceilings wall and floors in homes and businesses), amosite (brown asbestos- found in cement sheet and pipe insulation, crocidolite (blue asbestos-used in steam engines insulation) , tremolite (white, grey, green, transparent- used to be present in some talc powder) , anthophyllite (grey-brown-found in composite flooring, actinolite (found in underground recrystallized rock).
All asbestos are dangerous to health and some have been used commercially over the years, with the manufacture of asbestos products and the repair and removal of said asbestos resulting in serious due to over exposure to the dangerous materials.
Asbestos is now accepted as a serious health hazard and even though there is no overall ban on its use, such use is now regulated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Asbestos fibers are tiny and even though they cannot be seen, they can be breathed in, or ingested, and when they accumulate in the lungs, a disease called asbestosis, which eventually leads to death, is the inevitable outcome. There is also the danger of developing mesothelioma, cancer affecting the lungs or stomach.
In workplace settings where there is the likelihood of asbestos exposure, like in the construction, general and shipyard industries, OSHA has instituted guidelines “requiring that employers provide personal exposure monitoring to assess the risk and hazard awareness training for operations where there is any potential exposure to asbestos. Airborne levels of asbestos are never to exceed legal worker exposure limits…Where there is exposure, employers are required to further protect workers by establishing regulated areas, controlling certain work practices and instituting engineering controls to reduce the airborne levels. The employer is required to ensure exposure is reduced by using administrative controls and provide for the wearing of personal protective equipment…Medical monitoring of workers is also required when legal limits and exposure times are exceeded.” The exposure limit and time is: “(0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter (f/cc) as an 8-hour, time-weighted average (TWA) and/or the excursion limit (1.0 f/cc as a 30-minute TWA)”.
Check with your State Department of Environmental Protection or Department of Health to find out information re: EPA approved asbestos awareness training courses, examinations and whatever else is needed to become a qualified asbestos professional. There are asbestos awareness courses for property management, general industry, schools, construction which meet all EPA, OSHA and AHERA (Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act) requirements.
Online asbestos awareness training courses generally run from $50-$100 per person. Classroom courses cost on average $150 per person. Refresher courses, which are required yearly, costing around $55 per person.