Asbestos in the Home
The American Cancer Society estimates that asbestos could once be found in as many as 5,000 consumer products. This is in addition to the products used in constructing the home in which people lived. As a consequence, many homes throughout the United States may still have asbestos in them, potentially exposing their residents to the hazardous fibers.
Individuals who live in older homes are at a much greater risk of being exposed to asbestos in their homes than are people who live in homes built after 1986. In particular, homes built between 1930 and 1950 have the greatest risk of having asbestos in their insulation; however, even homes built through 1986 may still have asbestos in their insulation and “popcorn” ceilings. This is because the ban enacted on the use of asbestos in homes allowed manufacturers to sell all of their existing asbestos-containing materials – they just couldn’t produce any more.
Other Residential Sources of Asbestos
Other sources of asbestos in the home include older appliances. Things like ovens may have been insulated by asbestos to prevent the oven from spilling heat into the rest of the home when it was in use. Asbestos in ovens also reduced the chances of a fire being started by the oven. Most ovens that contain asbestos have likely been replaced because they have broken or the kitchen was remodeled, but the chance of exposure is still present in some cases.
In addition, as gas fireplaces became increasingly more popular than wood burning fireplaces, artificial ashes to be placed beneath the ceramic logs became more prevalent. They add much to the appearance of a fireplace, but it is possible for these ashes to contain asbestos.
Other examples of in-home asbestos exposure risks include:
- Some roofing and siding shingles
- Textured paint and patching compounds sold prior to 1977
- Stove-top pads
- Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Hot water and steam pipes
- Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets