What Are the Dangers of Asbestos Inside the Home?
Home renovations are popular for many home buyers. It’s a dream to take a dilapidated home and upgrade it with all the modern finishes. However, there’s a risk associated with house flips and upgrades. Asbestos is a common issue among older homes, and as a homeowner, you could be exposing yourself and others to toxic asbestos fibers.
Asbestos is a natural mineral made of thin fibers. It has been used for fireproofing and insulating building materials since the 1800s and is still in use today.
Once a construction material composed of asbestos is broken down or damaged, the asbestos fibers become airborne. The asbestos fibers travel into our airways and can cause scarring and inflammation.
By inhaling asbestos dust from different materials, you are at risk for a specific asbestos-related disease called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer that forms tumors on vital organs in the body, such as the linings of the lungs, heart, or abdomen. Other extreme health risks, like lung disease, are linked to asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, in most cases, any asbestos-related illness can go undiagnosed for at least 15 years after reaching exposure.
Asbestos Building Materials: What You Should Know
Residential use of asbestos declined in the late 1970s as the United States banned several forms of asbestos, such as spray-on asbestos. Many homes in the U.S. built before the 1980s still have asbestos in a variety of building materials, including cement, shingles, and ceiling and floor tiles.
Though many products no longer contain asbestos, there are still products legally produced with asbestos material. One percent of asbestos material in products such as cement, tiles, and potting soil is still legal today.
Asbestos Exposure Examples
Exposure to asbestos is more common than you may think. There are multiple scenarios in which you could potentially expose yourself and others to asbestos, including:
Drilling into drywall
Removal of vinyl floor tiles
Removal of popcorn ceilings
Cutting the insulation on pipes
You may not think of asbestos when making these changes to your home. For example, you might decide to hang up a favorite picture and unknowingly expose yourself to asbestos material. Before you hang up your favorite photos or choose to remove that outdated popcorn ceiling, you should first find out if there is asbestos in your home. And the sooner you find out, the less risk you have of potentially exposing yourself.