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Asbestos, Lead & PCB ’ s. James Biddle, MS, CIH Northern Arizona University Environmental, Health & Safety. What is Asbestos? A Rock!. Naturally occurring magnesium silicate mineral. Most common types of asbestos are Chrysotile Amosite Crocidolite

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asbestos lead pcb s

Asbestos, Lead & PCB’s

James Biddle, MS, CIH

Northern Arizona University

Environmental, Health & Safety

what is asbestos a rock
What is Asbestos? A Rock!
  • Naturally occurring magnesium silicate mineral. Most common types of asbestos are
    • Chrysotile
    • Amosite
    • Crocidolite
  • Composed of tiny fibers too small to see.
  • Has been added to many common building materials due to it’s beneficial physical properties


NAME: ChrysotileCOUNTY: Gila

REMAINS: Six mining buildings still standing, one modern building. Very large tailings pile, many mines. Chrysotile's post office was established June 27, 1916, and discontinued July 15, 1933. Asbestos was the mainstay of the Chrysotile mine located in Ash Creek. Chrysotile is named for the type of asbestos that was mined. In particular, asbestos from Chrysotile was used in the building of Hoover dam in Nevada.

history of asbestos
History of Asbestos
  • Known and used in ancient world more than 5000 years ago
  • Finland
  • Egypt
  • Greece
    • The word “asbestos” comes from Greeks… translates to “inextinguishable”
  • Rome
    • Slaves would wear makeshift respirators while weaving asbestos cloth to prevent sickness
  • China
the start of modern usage
The Start of Modern Usage
  • Modern asbestos industry began in 1880 when chrysotile asbestos was first mined in Canada and Russia
  • Products included fireproof shingles, steam boiler insulation, cement compounds
  • Most extensive use of asbestos began with WWII
  • During WWII, asbestos used heavily in ship construction and other military products
  • After the war, capacity used for industrial, commercial, residential applications
  • Eventually, asbestos was added to thousands of different building products and commercial items
  • Found in a number of products imported into USA
    • Asbestos cement (transite) (Mexico)
    • Vinyl asbestos floor tile (China)
    • Sheetrock (Mexico)
    • Henry’s Roof Mastic (Canada)

In general, US based companies don’t use asbestos anymore, but never banned in USA

why was so much asbestos installed in buildings
Why was so much Asbestos installed in buildings?
  • Many desirable properties
    • Fire resistant
    • Sound absorbing
    • Chemical resistant
    • Friction resistant
    • Mechanically strong
    • Electrically resistant
    • Bacterially resistant
some other asbestos containing materials acm
Some Other Asbestos-containing Materials (ACM)

Roofing shingles


Thermal pipe insulation

Glues or mastics

Acoustical insulation

Ceiling tiles

Floor tiles


Window caulking

Cove base

Fire curtains


Sheet vinyl

Transite pipe

Sheet rock


Rugs and carpets

Hair dryers


Car brakes

when is asbestos dangerous
When is asbestos dangerous?
  • When you breathe or ingest it.
  • When asbestos gets in air, you can breathe it in
  • Easy to get asbestos into air where it can be inhaled during the following activities
  • Saw
  • Nail
  • Crush
  • Drill
  • Cut
  • Tear
a few statistics
A Few Statistics

The Asbestos Epidemic

Deaths from Asbestos-related diseases


Number of deaths per year





Lung Cancer


G-I tract cancer




asbestos diseases
Asbestos Diseases
  • Asbestosis (White Lung Disease)
    • 15-30 years latency
  • Lung Cancer
    • 20-30 years latency
  • Mesothelioma
    • 30-40 years latency
    • 100% fatal within 12-18 months
  • Other cancers (including stomach, intestinal, and esophageal cancers)
are you safe
Are you safe?
  • The answer is YES
  • As long as asbestos is not disturbed, it cannot harm you
  • Following safe work practices will ensure asbestos is not disturbed
  • If you see disturbed asbestos, please notify Regulatory Compliance immediately. We will address the problem
how much asbestos is safe
How much asbestos is safe?
  • OSHA sets limit of 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter, averaged over 8 hours
  • 1 cubic centimeter is about equal to the size of a sugar cube
  • OSHA sets another limit of 1.0 f/cc, averaged over 30 minutes to limit heavier short-term exposure
processes that use lead
Processes that Use Lead

Exposure to lead occurs in at least 120 different occupations including

  • Primary and secondary lead smelting
  • Lead-storage battery manufacturing


processes that use lead cont
Processes that Use Lead (cont.)
  • Lead-pigment manufacturing and use (paints)
  • Solder manufacturing and use
  • Shipbuilding/repairing


processes that use lead cont1
Processes that Use Lead (cont.)
  • Auto manufacturing
  • Printing


how lead enters the body
How lead enters the body
  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion
  • Generally not absorbed through skin (unless organic; ethyl/methyl lead)


effects of acute overexposure
Effects of “acute” overexposure
  • Large dosages can kill in a matter of days
  • Acute encephalopathy can lead to seizures, coma, and cardiorespiratory arrest


effects of chronic overexposure
Damage to

Blood-forming system

Nervous system


Urinary system

Reproductive systems

Effects of “chronic” overexposure


regulations over the years
Regulations over the Years….
  • 1971-Lead Based Paint Poison Prevention Act (LBPPA) targeting HUD homes only
  • 1978-Consumer Product Safety Commission bans use of LBP in residences
  • 1987-abatement of all LBP in HUD homes
  • 1995-Guidance Publication on testing and abatement in non-HUD residences
  • Not much since then, until….
here s the latest
Here’s the latest….
  • March 31, 2008-EPA sets new rule for contractors during LBP disturbance activities
  • By April 2010, contractors must be certified through proper training from accredited entity
  • Applies to work involving renovation, repair, and painting projects in homes, schools, and child-care facilities built before 1978 (Non-HUD Facilities)
occupational safety health administration
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
  • Construction regulation on lead applies to all occupational exposure to lead where applicable; employers must protect their employees
  • OSHA 29 CFR 1926.62
  • It’s the law!





  • Trade Names
  • Aroclor
  • Inclor
  • Fenclor
  • Many others….


  • Non-flammable
  • Chemically stable
  • High-boiling point
  • Excellent electrical insulation
  • properties
pcb uses
PCB Uses
  • Electrical Transformers
  • Capacitors
  • Heat Transfer Equipment
  • Hydraulic Equipment
  • Pigments, Dyes, Paints
  • Caulking
  • Adhesives, Tapes
  • Cable Insulation


  • Manufacturing started in 1929 (release
  • to atmosphere)
  • Banned in 1979
  • Some old materials containing PCBs
  • still out there (light ballasts, caulking, paint)
  • Regulated under the Toxic Substances
  • Control Act (“TSCA”), 40 CFR 761
  • Environmental exposure predominantly via soil and water

Health Effects

  • Carcinogen
  • (to animals, probable in humans)
  • Toxic to
  • Immune system
  • Reproductive system
  • Nervous system
  • Endocrine system
  • Very persistent in environment, can
  • travel long distances and reach
  • groundwater

Exposure/Environmental Controls

  • Clean all spills promptly (leaking transformers, etc.)
  • Dispose of in accordance with TSCA regulation
  • Do not burn; PCBs form very toxic dioxins via combustion (Agent Orange-like compounds)
  • If in solid form, treat disturbance by following asbestos or lead removal guidelines to control exposure/release
  • Questions?