Furnaces Potential Asbestos Source

If you’re living in a house with an old furnace, take caution: it may contain asbestos.

Considered a vital safety material for much of the last century, asbestos was included in thousands of products where insulation, fireproofing, or durability was needed. One of the many uses for asbestos was in furnaces. But the safety of asbestos was an illusion. In the 1970s, researchers proved asbestos was a carcinogen. Among the number of serious illnesses it caused was the incurable cancer mesothelioma.

There are several places in and around furnaces that might contain asbestos, depending on the specific unit. Asbestos may be present in door gaskets, duct insulation, and in the tape at duct connections, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As the years go by, asbestos materials in furnace components tend to crumble or become disturbed, releasing deadly microscopic fibers into the air. This is the kind of situation facing Keith Tremblett of Nova Scotia, as a story on CBC News points out. When Tremblett discovered a crumbling gasket on his furnace, he became alarmed. The manufacturer of the furnace told Tremblett that the gasket probably contained asbestos and should be replaced.

“These furnaces are still in use, and when this [asbestos] breaks down this is going to be circulated throughout the house,” Tremblett said. “It’s in a bad location. It’s not like it’s in your home, in a wall or something and it’s undisturbed. It’s disturbed. It’s got a blower acting on it,” he continued.  

One expert told CBC News: “There could be quite a few furnaces out there that do have asbestos.” She also warned: “It becomes an issue when it’s disturbed.”

Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-caused disease? If you were negligently exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a mesothelioma lawsuit. To learn more about your legal options, please Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation.