What is friability and why is it important to know?

Living and working in Pittsburgh can put you at risk for certain illnesses. This city is a thriving hub of cultural, social and business activity. It's also true that its shipyards, railroads, steel mills and coal mines, among other workplaces, often contain asbestos-laden materials that can be dangerous to human health. Your employer is obligated to warn you of possible exposure to such hazards when aware that they exist in your workplace.

You can also expect your employer to provide proper training, information and any equipment available to keep you and your co-workers as safe as possible on the job. No amount of asbestos exposure is safe, but there are definitely issues that can increase the risk of injury. A key factor is friability. The more you know about it, the better you can protect your and your family's health. If an asbestos injury occurs and you think your employer is liable, you can litigate the issue in court.

What does it mean if a material is friable?

You are at great risk for serious, possibly incurable illnesses, if you ingest or inhale the microscopic fibers known as asbestos. Such fibers are, in fact, part of a group of naturally occurring minerals that are often found in certain products and building materials. The following information explains what friability is and how it may affect your health:

  • If you have ever scooped up a lump of soil and then easily crumbled it in your hand, you might say the soil is friable.
  • Friability has to do with how easily a material falls apart or crumbles when touched.
  • Some asbestos-laden materials are more friable than others. Floor tiles, for instance, are not typically as friable as spray insulation.
  • Materials containing asbestos, if left undisturbed, may be less dangerous than similar materials that have been manipulated in some way.
  • Hammering, sawing, scraping, picking at, striking, grinding or drilling of any asbestos materials releases microscopic fibers into the air, which can settle on your clothing or skin. If you swallow or breathe in such fibers, you may contract asbestosis, mesothelioma or other serious illness.

Wetness and sogginess typically creates high levels of friability. Scientists, manufacturers and most employers are aware of such facts. It is why stringent regulations and protocols exist that govern the abatement process, which is the process used to remove asbestos materials from a property.

If someone's negligence caused your injury

If construction went on in your workplace or if you are part of a renovation or building crew that you believe caused your exposure to asbestos, you will want to learn as much as you can about friability and other known information regarding the substance that can cause terminal disease, such as lung cancer.

Many Pennsylvania workplace injuries involving asbestos lead to litigation when injured workers or family members of workers seek financial recovery for their losses against those who knew better but failed to keep them safe.

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