Asbestos was once common in home building, but as we know by now, exposure to it can pose a potential danger. Asbestos is basically a fiber that when cut or damaged can produce toxins that can cause serious illness, including lung cancer. If you’re wondering about asbestos in your home, here are a couple indicators, as well as what to do about it.

The good news is that asbestos exposure has been for the most part eliminated from use in homes. However, for years it was used in a number of materials, incAsbestos in the Home and how to avoid itluding fireproofing material, insulation, and flooring.  In the 1970s and 80s asbestos exposure was minimized and today the materials that contain asbestos will have a label. In older homes asbestos might be more of a problem.

Where Asbestos is Located

According to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), asbestos may be contained in a number of areas in the home, including:

  • Ÿ  Roofing and siding shingles
  • Ÿ  Insulation in houses built between 1930 and 1950
  • Ÿ  Insulation in oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets
  • Ÿ  Vinyl floor tiles
  • Ÿ  Material or tape that is coated over hot water and steam pipes in older homes
  • Ÿ  Textured paint on walls in ceilings before 1977
  • Ÿ  Artificial ash and embers in gas fireplaces
  • Ÿ  Older products, such as stove-top pads
  • Ÿ  Walls and floors around wood burning stoves

When Dealing with Asbestos

Keep in mind that asbestos exposure becomes a problem only when the fibers are released. Improper repair or removal of this substance can cause a potential health risk. When it doubt, it is probably better to leave it alone, but consult a profession if you have concerns.

If you suspect asbestos might be in your home, check the material for any indication of damage—and if it is in good condition, leave it alone. Asbestos poses no danger unless the fibers are inhaled. To check for a disturbance, do not touch, rub, or handle the area or material; instead look for signs of damage, such as from water or tears, or abrasion.

Work with a trained asbestos professional or contractors if you have concerns or are considering removal. This person will know the steps to take to minimize the risk. This is especially important when it comes to home remodeling. An asbestos professional can take a sample of the material to test it.

For more information read the article Asbestos in Your Home.

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