Common Asbestos Locations in the Home

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that has been used by mankind for centuries. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that asbestos became widely used throughout all facets of society. Its utility and ease of use made it the preferred material of the time in practically every building project, including home construction.

Dangers of Asbestos

While many industry insiders were aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure earlier, it was not until the 1970s that the deadly effects of the mineral started to become public knowledge. However, by then nearly every building across the nation had been built with some form of asbestos. It was literally considered an essential material by the industry and to use anything else in its place was considered bad business.

Today in the United States, though, the material is rarely used. However, there are a considerable number of houses that still contain asbestos. Any house built between the turn of the century and before the 1980s is likely to contain asbestos somewhere.

Where Asbestos May be Found

  • Exterior – Asbestos was used widely in all manner of roofing materials, from shingles to patching cement. The percentage of it used depends on the product and manufacturer. In addition, different brands of flashing tape and an assortment of insulating materials used for pipes and similar uses all contain asbestos. The list goes on to include sand and cement siding.
  • Interior – Asbestos poses more of a threat to human health inside the home than outside. The enclosed spaces allows the countless particles remain together in invisible clouds that homeowners can unknowingly come into contact with. The lack of outside air and ventilation significantly increases the risk of developing one of the many diseases directly caused by asbestos exposure.

In most homes, asbestos can be found in different patching materials such as caulk and plaster. It is also very prevalent in all cement pipes, especially septic pipes. Nearly every kind of insulation once used asbestos. Therefore, insulation for pipes, electrical wires and human comfort are dangerous if manufactured before the 1980s. In addition, many vinyl products, such as wall coverings and flooring, contained the deadly material.

As far as appliances are concerned, nearly all of those which required the use of heat and electricity employed asbestos in some fashion. Generally, its function with these machines was as an insulator, as asbestos has strong electrical insulation properties in addition to its fire-retardant strength. It is precisely for this reason that it was used widely not only in homes, but nearly every construction effort in the United States prior to the 1980s.

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