Naturally occurring asbestos is found in at least 44 of California's 58 counties--one of which is Amador County. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and inhalation of asbestos can increase the risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis. Your physician can provide more information regarding the degree of risk associated with exposure to asbestos fibers.
Asbestos is found naturally in serpentine rock, other ultramafic rock, and volcanic rock and is used in many building materials. When rock containing naturally occurring asbestos is crushed or broken, the asbestos can be released from the rock and become airborne. Remodel and repair activity in residential and commercial building can disturb asbestos-containing materials and may cause the release of asbestos fibers into the air. It is when the airborne fibers are inhaled that asbestos becomes a health hazard. There is no known health threat if asbestos-containing materials are in good condition and left undisturbed.
There are two types of asbestos. Friable Asbestos-Containing Materials can easily be crumbled, crushed or reduced to powder when dry. Common examples of friable asbestos-containing materials are spray acoustic ceilings, acoustic tiles, plaster, pipe and duct wrap, and paper backing of linoleum. Non-friable Asbestos-Containing Materials are typically bound up with cement, vinyl, asphalt or some other type of hard binder. Some examples of non-friable asbestos building materials are cement/transite siding, vinyl floor tiles and stucco. Non-friable asbestos-containing material may become friable if it is crushed, crumbled, pulverized, or subjected to sanding, drilling, grinding, cutting, or abrading.
A licensed asbestos abatement contractor should be used to remove the asbestos-containing material during a renovation or demolition project. You should not attempt to remove the asbestos-containing materials yourself. These professionals are trained in the regulations, techniques and equipment necessary for a safe and legal removal. Most renovation or demolition projects of residential structures are exempt from regulation. However, if your renovation or demolition is a result of a commercial, public works, or eminent domain project, you will more than likely be subject to applicable administrative and work practice requirements.
Asbestos -- California Geological Survey asbestos information.
Asbestos Abatement Registrants Database -- State of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health
Air Resources Board--Notification of Renovation or Demolition when asbestos is involved.