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In The Community // January 11, 2016 MAAC Staff

WATCH for Asbestos in Your Home

Asbestos is a scary substance. In addition to being the only known cause of mesothelioma, it can lead to other deadly diseases such as asbestosis.

Unfortunately, people haven’t always been aware of the dangers of asbestos, and for many years it was used in buildings as a fireproof material. It is often found in insulation, floor tiles, shingles, siding, joint compound, and other places.

Finding Asbestos in Your Home

It can be really difficult to properly identify asbestos in your house. For one thing, it’s nearly impossible to tell simply by looking at something whether it contains asbestos.

The easiest way to see asbestos is also the most dangerous, because that means the asbestos fibers are exposed and could find their way into the air that you and your loved ones are breathing.

The most common areas of the home to find asbestos are:

  • The basement, where asbestos may lurk in insulation around pipes or in a concrete floor
  • The attic, where asbestos-laden insulation may be exposed
  • Anywhere inside where drywall or ceiling is broken and crumbling
  • Exterior surfaces like siding and roofing tiles

This is not a complete list. Asbestos may also exist in old appliances, decorations, and even toys and gifts.

Dealing with Asbestos in the Home

Generally speaking, you should check for asbestos before doing any major home renovations, especially if you have an older home.

If you suspect your home might contain asbestos, the best thing to do is to contact a qualified inspector and have them test your house.

  • If your home test negative for asbestos, then you can be at ease knowing that your family is safe.
  • If your home tests positive for asbestos, do not attempt to remove it yourself – hire experts certified in asbestos removal to make sure it is done carefully and completely.

Important: Not all states require asbestos testers and contractors to be trained and accredited. Be sure to do your research to find a qualified expert to test your home and, if necessary, to remove any asbestos.

Asbestos Checklist: WATCH

Use the following list to help you find, test and deal with any asbestos in the home.

  • Watch for broken, crumbling or exposed materials that might contain asbestos
  • Avoid any materials you believe may contain asbestos
  • Test for asbestos by contacting a qualified inspector
  • Contact a trained professional to remove asbestos
  • Help others become aware of the dangers asbestos poses