The presence of asbestos in a home or work facility puts people at risk for diseases such as mesothelioma. In fact, about 80% of those with this deadly form of cancer contracted this condition through exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos in homes is not as widely publicized as that of asbestos in work environments, but it remains a possibility, especially in older homes. Occupants should know the following about asbestos in residential properties.
How to identify asbestos in a home
Most homes do not contain asbestos. According to the United States Consumer Safety Commission, asbestos could exist in homes built as late as the 1970s. Asbestos shows up in insulation in homes built between 1930 and 1950 and in a number of building products. The following products could contain asbestos:
- Floor tiles
- Door gaskets
- Soundproofing materials
- Patching and joint compounds
- Cement roofing and shingles
These items represent just a few of the possibilities. In many cases, so long as the materials are intact and not releasing fibers, the presence of asbestos only requires monitoring on the part of the homeowner.
How to respond to asbestos
The Environmental Protection Agency offers a number of recommendations for homeowners. If the materials that contain asbestos appear in good condition they likely do not pose a serious risk to occupants. Leaving the materials alone is a viable option. Homeowners should identify asbestos-containing products in the home and periodically check them for wear. In cases where the materials are in poor condition or if they require disruption, the EPA recommends homeowners contact a trained and accredited asbestos contractor. Asbestos fibers released into the air in a home puts homeowners at risk.