Before asbestos became notorious for its cancer-causing effects, people loved how useful this mineral substance was. Because of its fibrous and fireproof qualities and the inability to conduct heat, people found asbestos products to be of great use in their homes. Asbestos was all over many household in the form of stove mats for a safe furnace, handles for pots and pans, asbestos table mats, asbestos tiles and asbestos cords to bind exposed parts of pipes during frosty weather.
Today, asbestos is banned from a lot of products or voluntarily removed by manufacturers themselves. When the world found out that prolonged exposure to high levels of asbestos in the air can cause serious respiratory diseases and cancer, the US Environmental Protection Agency had it removed from the following:
- Commercial paper
- Specialty paper
- Corrugated paper
- Flooring felt
- Roll board
New uses of asbestos have also been prohibited. Manufacturing companies can no longer add asbestos to products that originally did not contain it.
Although asbestos stove mats and other such products are already scarce, there could be some that are for sale or left in consumer homes. Since it is more likely that asbestos-containing materials are found in older homes, those dwelling in one should look out for the following:
Shingles, siding and roofing made with asbestos cement.
For homes built during the 1930’s to the 50’s, pipe and furnace insulation should be checked.
Asbestos cement sheets, paper or millboards may still remain to protect the walls and floors surrounding wood burning stoves.
Coating materials such as textured paint, whose manufacture and distribution was only banned in 1977.
Insulation containing asbestos may be found in coal or oil furnaces and door gaskets.
It may be found in vinyl, asphalt or rubber tiles, adhesives and even flooring made from vinyl sheet. Using sandpaper on such tiles will cause a discharge of asbestos fibers.
Older houses may have steam pipes still wrapped or covered with asbestos material.
When such materials are still found in your homes, keep in mind that air-borne asbestos fibers are the culprits to health hazards. If in doubt of how to handle asbestos-laden products, contact the US Environmental Protection Agency.