The Top 5 Places to Check If You Think Your House Has Asbestos
After scientists discovered that asbestos fibers cause asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer, this material became heavily regulated in the United States. Homes are no longer built with materials containing asbestos fibers. However, some residential structures built before the 1970s might nevertheless contain asbestos. If you speculate that your house has asbestos, you should hire a specialized to check these five main places.
1. Boiler and Hot Water Pipe Insulation. If you live in an older home, you should have your boiler and hot water pipes inspected for asbestos. Until the 1970s, many hot water and steam pipes were covered with a protective coating of asbestos. In addition, some boilers and pipes were wrapped in asbestos blankets for heat insulation and fire resistance. If you are not sure whether a particular material contains asbestos, you might ask a heating specialist or a plumber or have the hot water system inspected by a specialized asbestos inspector.
2. Resilient Floor Tiles. If your house has the original vinyl, asphalt or rubber floor tiles, there might be asbestos in the tiles and in the adhesives underneath the tiles. As long as the tiles are in good condition, they will not release asbestos fibers. If you decide to remove any older tiles, make sure not to sand or scrape them, as this might release microscopic asbestos fibers into the air. It is always best to use professionals to remove any suspected asbestos from your home.
3. Textured Wall Paint and Decorative Wall Finishes. Until 1977, many brands of textured wall paint and spray finishes were made with asbestos for enhanced strength and durability. Since finding asbestos fibers in the wall paint requires a special kind of microscope, you should have professionals inspect your walls to make sure they do not contain any unhealthy substances.
4. Older Cement Roofing, Shingles and Siding. While the roof of your home might look just fine, it might contain asbestos materials. Asbestos cement used to be a very popular material for manufacturing and installing various types of roofing. Fortunately, roofing materials do not release asbestos fibers unless disturbed by sawing, drilling or cutting. However, you should regularly inspect your roof for any loose shingles and peeling roof felt to avoid release of asbestos fibers.
5. Wood Burning Stoves. If your house has an old wood burning stove, there might be asbestos fibers in the wall and floor covering around the stove. Generally, the coverings will not release asbestos into the air as long as they keep in good condition. However, to be safe, you might want the old wood burning stove examined professionally and any asbestos removed.
Exposure to already a very small amount of asbestos can rule to illnesses such as malignant mesothelioma. A mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating, as most patients succumb to the illness in less than one year, often leaving family members with a financial burden in addition to their grief. It is important to rely on professionals to manager asbestos removal from the home. In addition, in case of a mesothelioma diagnosis, it may be useful to consult an attorney regarding your legal options.