Asbestos was once commonly used in homes. Now that the public is widely aware of the health risks associated with this mineral, the Environmental Protection Agency and other government entities regulate its use.
Despite these regulations, many older houses still have potentially dangerous levels of asbestos. As a homeowner, look for common indications that your home could contain this substance.
What are some characteristics of at-risk homes?
If you have a newly-built home, it is unlikely that you have to worry about the presence of asbestos. For all other homes, there are some common indications that point to the presence of cancer-causing asbestos fibers, including:
- Your home is from before the early 1980s
- The roof has corrugated shingles produced from the 1920s to the 1970s
- You have vinyl flooring or millboard, particularly products produced between 1952 and 1982
- Your walls are cement sheets
- Your home contains a cement water tank
- You have vermiculite insulation
When is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos is typically only dangerous if it becomes airborne. This means that having this substance in your home does not automatically place you at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. However, home remodeling and repairs, among other activities that disturb the fibers, can release the mineral into the air, exposing you and your family.
The only way to confirm the presence of asbestos is by having a sample tested by a laboratory. If you plan on doing any remodeling or construction in your at-risk home, you should first have testing done to ensure it is safe to proceed.