Sources of Asbestos in the Home

Many homeowners worry about hazardous asbestos being present in some of the materials used to
construct their home. If the home was built before the 1970s, it is possible that asbestos was used in
the construction and can be dangerous. Of all the sources of indoor air pollution, asbestos is one of the
few that can be fatal. This article looks at the potential sources of asbestos in the home.

Asbestos is often found in insulation materials throughout the home. Paper tapes made of asbestos
and asbestos blankets were often used for furnace ducts, boilers, and steam pipes. These materials are
particularly temperamental because the materials are softer and therefore more prone to damage. If
you see any signs of damage in these materials, do not touch them. Call an asbestos professional.

Door gaskets of coal stoves, furnaces, and wood stoves have seals that can release asbestos fibers.
Patching and joint compounds used for ceilings and walls can also release asbestos fibers if damaged
or disturbed. Textured paints sometimes contain asbestos also. It is important to never drill, sand, or
scrape these materials.

Older household products like fireproof gloves, ironing board covers, stovetop pads, hair dryers, and
artificial gas stove embers and ashes may also contain asbestos. As fun as vintage items are, if they
contain asbestos, they should be carefully removed from your home and safely disposed.

Resilient floor tiles made of rubber, asphalt, or vinyl may have asbestos in them. The backing and
adhesives used to install floor tiles may also contain asbestos. It is important to never sand or scrape
these tiles.

Soundproofing and decorative spray materials used to contain asbestos. When these age or are
damaged, they release asbestos fibers into the air around them. Cement sheet, paper, and millboard
made for the area around wood-burning stoves and furnaces may contain asbestos. Be careful around
these.

Siding, shingles, and cement roofing may contain asbestos. Most of the time these can be left alone
because unless they are damaged, drilled, cut, or sawed, they won’t release asbestos fibers into the air.
But if you see signs of damage or are concerned, contact a professional.

Anytime you have a concern about a material that may have asbestos, make sure to contact a
professional rather than attempt anything yourself.

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