Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety General Asbestos Awareness: Online Training

Asbestos-Containing Building Materials (ACM)

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Over the years, millions of tons of asbestos have been used in building products and insulation materials. In addition to industrial sites, these products have been used in homes, schools, shipyards, and commercial buildings in the United States. By the 1970’s, the federal government acknowledged the dangers associated with asbestos and placed a moratorium on the production of most asbestos products.

Subsequent lawsuits overturned most governmental bans allowing products to return to the marketplace. Also, warehouse inventories continued to supply products that were installed into the 1980’s. By this time, most University buildings had already been built and remodeled.

Although amounts have decreased since the 1980’s, asbestos can still be found in many building materials.

Many of these materials look alike, even to experts. Asbestos fibers can’t be detected by sight, touch, smell, or taste. Samples must be collected and examined microscopically.

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