How to Know if My Home Has Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral that was commonly used in construction materials throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a popular material because it’s naturally occurring and resistant to heat and corrosion, which made it a great product to use for insulation, roofing, and tile. However, in the 1970’s it was discovered that asbestos caused a variety of health risk and can be deadly to both children and adults. Although asbestos production has slowed considerably since that time, many older homes still contain the material. Here is a look at how you can tell if your home may contain asbestos.

How old is the Home?

Asbestos has been used for centuries. Candle wicks containing asbestos were known to have been used by the ancient Greeks, but the rampant use of asbestos began in the 19th Century in the US and Canada. In the 1970s the health risks of asbestos were discovered, and the use of the mineral slowed down considerably. But if your house was constructed before the 1980s, there may be a construction product containing harmful amounts of asbestos in your home. If you live in an older home, keep an eye out for the following materials.

Materials that may contain asbestos

It’s possible for asbestos to be present in the following materials:

  • Pipes, boiler, and furnace duct insulation
  • Vinyl, asphalt, and rubber floor tiles
  • Insulation around furnaces or wood-burning stoves
  • Patching and joint compounds for walls and ceiling
  • Cement roofing shingles and siding

These are just a few of the common materials that were once made with asbestos. The dangerous thing about asbestos is that it was used so commonly, so there are more construction materials out there that were once made with the substance. But these are the common items found in many homes that you should inspect if your home is older. 

What to Do if You Suspect You Have an Asbestos Problem?

The first thing to do is have the suspicious materials tested. Construction products can be easily tested for asbestos; however, the trick is to identify what needs to be tested. It’s impossible to scan the entire house for asbestos without painstakingly testing every square foot. But, if you can identify potential problem areas, the process becomes much easier. There are certified asbestos testers available all over the US and asbestos testing kits can be purchased online.

You are entitled to take legal action if you discover that you do have an asbestos problem. Asbestos causes mesothelioma, a deadly form of lung cancer caused by exposure to the deadly mineral. The Mesothelioma Cancer Network has resources and information available about how to deal with the problem if you discover asbestos in your home. Negligent contractors and home construction companies must be held accountable for putting the public in danger and if your family has been impacted, you have legal rights.

If you discover an asbestos problem, you should make other arrangements until the problem has been contained and it’s safe to move back in. Asbestos can cause serious long-term health problems and you don’t want to risk putting yourself and your family in danger.

Elements used to create Featured image Artwork provided by Created by Jill.

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