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I live in an apt complex built in the 60s. In my HVAC closet, I found chunks, including one like this, in the picture.

Does this look like asbestos fiber under the paper?

  • 1. It's really hard to tell from a photo. 2. If it is, you might have inhaled the fibers. Which can make you very sick
    – Machavity
    Jul 20 '17 at 0:50
  • 2
    There are services that you can have samples tested, I have seen some materials that looked like asbestos that was not it is always a good idea to test. You should use gloves and a respirator try not to tear the fibers this can make them go airborne and that's when things can create health problems. Painted asbestos encapsulate the fibers so there is no health risk until disturbed. I know of several cases that homes built in the 40's it was considered safer to leave the material in place these were high density where isolating the home and removing it was not possible due to common walls.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 20 '17 at 1:06

Asbestos fibers are typically too small to see, with the naked eye. As mentioned in the comments, there are free services available, to help you find out.

When dealing with unknown materials, that you think might be dangerous; assume that they are, and leave them alone. Do not spray, do not break, do not touch; call a professional.


Our local health department accepts samples of suspected asbestos for testing. They do it for free. I would look around where you live for similar service.

In the meantime you could spray the affected area with spray paint. Giving everything a good heavy coat of paint will lock and seal the fibres and keep them from getting airborne

  • You might want to reconsider your suggestion, that someone use "spray" paint, around what could possibly be a deadly material, when airborne.
    – tahwos
    Jul 20 '17 at 23:38
  • I see what you mean. Obviously you should wear a respirator. But sometimes it's not an option to call a professional, especially in rental situations.
    – Kokako
    Jul 21 '17 at 0:30
  • It's always an option, and in some cases, it's the law. You can't just hire anyone to do it, especially in rental/commercial buildings. The object is to keep it from becoming airborne, not to make it airborne, which a spray can, most likely would do. Also, there is nothing "obvious", about an answer on stackexchange - you can't assume, the reader can fill in the blanks - hence the demand, for good, complete answers on these sites.
    – tahwos
    Jul 22 '17 at 1:19

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