Q: What is asbestos?
A: Asbestos is a mineral fiber. The only way to positively identify asbestos is through a microscope. It was often added to products to increase their strength and to provide heat and fire resistance.
Q: Is asbestos dangerous?
A: Breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to lung cancer, specifically mesothelioma, and asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.
Q: When was asbestos stopped using in the construction of homes in the United States?
A: As a rule of thumb, houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos used in their insulation. However, homes built as late as 1977 may have asbestos in paint and wall/ceiling joints.
Q: When was asbestos banned for use in construction?
A: The use of asbestos in construction was banned in 1977.
Q: Where could there be asbestos in my home?
A: According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, asbestos may be found in homes in the following areas:
- Roofing and siding shingles (cement)
- Textured paint
- Wall & ceiling joints
- Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces
- Stove-top pads
- Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets
- Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring
- Vinyl tiling adhesive
- Hot water pipes may be coated in asbestos pipe wrap
- Oil and coal furnaces may have asbestos insulation
- “Popcorn” ceiling material