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Asbestos in Home

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used for a variety of different applications. Many homes may have this material in their insulation, as it is a fire retardant. Once exposed, individuals can inhale the microscopic asbestos particles and take them into their lungs. Once there, the fibers can cause lung cancer. If prolonged exposure occurs, an individual can also develop cancer in the chest cavity and abdomen.

It is important to note that many individuals have experienced brief exposure and been just fine. The fine asbestos particles are difficult to see and get rid of, so it is common for them to remain in their air for long periods of time thus increasing the risk of cancer. Smokers are at an increased risk for side effects due to exposure.

If you think that your home may have asbestos there are several places that you want to look. It is important to remember that products today do not contain the fiber, only things built in the 1970’s or earlier.

– Steam pipes, boilers, and furnace ducts could be insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. If the fibers become damaged or are repaired improperly, they could lead to exposure.

– Resilient floor tiles- the backing on many vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives could contain asbestos. Sanding the tiles or scraping them could release the fibers.

– Cement, millboard, and paper that were used as insulation around furnaces and wood burning stoves. Repairing or removing these appliances could stir up the fibers.

– Door gaskets- in furnaces, wood stoves, and coal stoves.

– Sound proofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and ceilings. Sanding, drilling or scraping the material could be harmful.

– Cement roofing, shingles, and siding. This usually only cause a problem when sawed, drilled, or cut.