Asbestos was used for several different products in the past because of its insulation and fire-resistant nature. The health risks of asbestos became apparent as people started reporting it as the cause of several severe illnesses. The government now requires that any products that contain asbestos must be labelled and used infrequently. Recognition of asbestos-containing products, such as gaskets, is a vital step to replacing them with non-asbestos alternatives.
Put on protective clothing and breathing equipment to avoid unnecessary contact with asbestos. Wet the area that contains, or is believed to contain, asbestos. This will help to prevent the asbestos fibres from becoming airborne.
Locate the area of the gasket and note the colour. Gaskets that contain asbestos are coloured white, black or dark grey. The gasket will also have a fibrous texture to it. If you are looking for a gasket in a machine or appliance, do not rely on the manufactured date that is printed on it, as it may have had maintenance or service work where the gasket was changed.
Replace the gasket with a non-asbestos one. These kinds of gaskets are blue, green or metallic in colour.
Take care to collect and properly dispose of asbestos waste, debris and equipment used around the asbestos, and any clothing that you wore while in contact with asbestos fibres. Double-bag any waste in distinctly coloured containers for quick identification.
Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in areas that may contain asbestos. Always take precautionary measures to avoid asbestos exposure.