Asbestos is used in many items that require proper insulating qualities and or fire resistance. Many houses constructed before 1950 may have more asbestos materials used as insulation. Roofing parts and siding shingles could be made of a mix of asbestos cement. Also, asbestos siding is most common in the northern parts of the country because of its good insulating qualities. Asbestos may also be present in many textured paint products and various patching compounds found on ceiling joints and walls and ceiling joints. The use of these products was banned finally in 1977. However, we may still find artificial ashes and particles that contain asbestos. Older items found in old houses like stove-top pads may contain some amount of asbestos compounds. Floors and walls around woodburning stoves could be protected with cement sheets, millboard and asbestos paper, millboard. Asbestos may also be detected in various vinyl floor tiles. Some could also be present on the back on vinyl sheet adhesive and flooring. Steam and hot water pipes in much older houses could be coated with a variety of asbestos materials, such as asbestos blankets or tapes. Coal and oil furnaces could also have asbestos insulating components.
Health experts have specified that there’s no real safe level for asbestos exposure on people. Any kind exposure to very fine asbestos fibers will easily involve some health risk after a period of time. Asbestos is a risk factor for lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Smokers who are exposed to any asbestos contamination can have five times higher risk of getting lung cancer than non-smokers. However, it may take up to thirty years after initial exposure for major and visible health problems to appear. Many people who contract mesothelioma and lung cancer actually die only within two years after initial diagnosis. At the moment, there’s no known cure for people with asbestosis. If we think that some asbestos components may be in our home, we should not be panic! In fact, the best thing is probably to leave them alone. Many asbestos materials are in good condition and they do not release fibers. We may encounter no danger except fibers are inhaled and released into our lungs. Roughly disturbing old asbestos-containing components may create significant health hazards where almost none existed before. So, if specific asbestos materials are somehow damaged, asbestos removal should be performed by a professional. Before we remodel our home, it is important find out whether any asbestos-containing components are present or hidden somewhere in the structure.
Back-drafting from unvented kerosene, furnaces, , leaking chimneys and gas space heaters can emit trace amount of asbestos-containing fumes. After decades of use, asbestos insulating components will become more brittle and can easily turn to dust after exposed to prolonged heat. We should make sure our home is well-ventilated and if we use anything with kerosene and gas, there could be an added exposure to carbon monoxide that can increase overall risks. We should be sure our flue is properly open when using our fireplace and it is a good idea to burn only hardwood.