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The aim of this booklet is to respond to some frequently asked questions about asbestos and to provide information to help the homeowner make informed decisions about its care and maintenance. Asbestos is the name for the group of naturally occurring minerals that separate into strong, very fine fibers. The fibers are heat-resistant and extremely durable, and because of these qualities, asbestos has become very useful in construction and industry. In the home it may or may not pose a health hazard to the occupants, depending on its condition. When it can be crushed by hand pressure or the surface is not sealed, to prevent small pieces from escaping, the material is considered friable. In this condition fibers can be released and pose a health risk. However, as long as the surface is stable and well-sealed against the release of its fibers and not damaged, the material is considered safe until damaged in some way.