Asbestos was commonly used as a building material during the early part of the 20th century because of its fire-retardant capabilities. However, its risks are so severe that it is banned in over 50 countries, including the United States. Here, homeowners can learn more about finding asbestos in an older home.
Where Asbestos May Lurk
The ductwork is a common place to find asbestos in older homes. If the ducts are rigid and made of metal, they may be sealed with a white tape that contains asbestos. Other potential sources of asbestos include:
- Floor and ceiling tiles
- Wall and attic vermiculite insulation
- Siding and roofing
- Artificial embers and ashes in a gas fireplace
- Older patching compounds and textured paint
Health Problems Caused by Asbestos
Asbestos inhalation can cause diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Fibers can become embedded in lung tissues and cause scarring, prolonged inflammation and tumor growth. The WHO says that exposure to asbestos kills over 100,000 people worldwide each year, and many more are disabled. The medical community agrees that asbestos is extremely dangerous, which is why it is classed as a carcinogen.
Who’s at Risk?
Anyone living in a home built prior to 1980 is potentially at risk for asbestos exposure. However, those who get asbestos-related diseases are usually in one of the following groups:
- Transportation, mill, and mine workers
- Shipbuilders, pipefitters, and auto mechanics
- Families of these workers
- People living near asbestos mills and mines
If there are asbestos-containing materials in the home, consider calling a Denver asbestos testing company for advice and possible removal.
Don’t Mess With Asbestos in the Home
If there’s something in the home that may have asbestos, it’s likely to be fine as long as it’s not disturbed. When a homeowner is concerned, they can call an asbestos inspection company to have materials tested. As long as the owner doesn’t plan to make major changes to the home, it’s typically best to leave the material alone. However, when it’s time to renovate, customers can count on asbestos remediation companies to remove and dispose of these materials in a safe, effective manner.