Asbestos is the name for a group of fibrous minerals mined and mixed into building materials. This material is very resistant to heat and chemicals hence its use in fire protection materials. Asbestos has been used in many manufactured materials including floor and ceiling tiles, coatings, texturing materials and thermal insulation.
Today, asbestos is only used in products where a complimenting material has not been found to adequately replace it. When bound in a product, asbestos is not a health risk. If you can pulverize the product by gripping it your hand, you have rendered the asbestos airborne allowing it to enter airways or be ingested into the body.
If you suspect a material in your home contains asbestos and it is either in poor shape or you will be conducting renovations that will cut, disassemble, or break open materials, you should first contact a state-certified asbestos inspector to evaluate possible asbestos materials. State-certified asbestos inspectors can be found in the yellow pages.
For more information on asbestos please visit the State of Colorado's Air Pollution Control Division/Asbestos Compliance Assistance Group website or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.