Home remodeling shows on television often show people uncovering hidden hazards when knocking out walls and digging up floors in old houses. Heating ducts wrapped in asbestos and flooring tiles made with asbestos are just two of the more common hazards one might see when watching a home renovation show. Old houses contain many surprises, but what other dangers might be hiding?
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was sought after for building materials due to its heat and flame-resistant properties. Exposure to asbestos fibers by touch or breathing in fibers is known to cause cancers such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and other pleural diseases.
Common home materials that may contain asbestos
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, asbestos can be found in many places around a home. Common asbestos locations include:
· Asbestos blanket or tape around water and steam pipes
· Insulation around old oil and gas furnaces such as “octopus” furnaces
· Vermiculite insulation
· Vinyl floor tiles or backing and some forms of linoleum
· Roofing and siding made with asbestos cement, including some stucco
· Insulation, especially for homes made between 1930 and 1950
· Artificial ashes and embers in gas fire places
· Some forms of plaster and textured paint compounds
· Millboard, cement sheets and asbestos paper around wood-burning stoves
· Window putty, caulk or glaze
What should you do if you discover asbestos in your home?
Many people live for many years in homes made of materials containing asbestos without any adverse health concerns. If you discover asbestos in your home and it is not damaged, the best advice is to leave it alone. If it needs to be moved, contact a professional asbestos abatement team to remove it.