Asbestos FAQ

Asbestos

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)
  • Insulation
  • 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

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