Asbestos Building Materials

Prior to the late 1970s asbestos building materials were quite common. If you do live in a home of this era or older and suspect that you have building materials containing asbestos, please leave them alone!

Asbestos becomes a health hazard when it is disturbed and the fibers are inhaled or ingested. So don't panic and start ripping the stuff out of your house or start cutting, drilling, scraping or sanding of asbestos building materials. This will most assuredly release the tiny glass rod like fibers into the air. These sharp fibers can then become lodged in the lungs.The accumulation of asbestos in the body can develop into a number very serious diseases.

Please examine the diagram and lists below for examples of common building materials that may contain asbestos.

Asbestos Siding

Asbestos Siding

Vermiculite

Vermiculite

Asbestos Materials Home Diagram


More Common Asbestos Building Materials


  • STEAM PIPES, BOILERS, and FURNACE DUCTS insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. These materials may release asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or removed improperly.
  • RESILIENT FLOOR TILES (vinyl asbestos, asphalt, and rubber), the backing on VINYL SHEET FLOORING, and ADHESIVES used for installing floor tile. Sanding tiles can release fibers. So may scraping or sanding the backing of sheet flooring during removal.
  • CEMENT SHEET, MILLBOARD, and PAPER used as insulation around furnaces and wood burning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibers, so may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulation.
  • DOOR GASKETS in furnaces, wood stoves, and coal stoves. Worn seals can release asbestos fibers during use.
  • SOUNDPROOFING OR DECORATIVE MATERIAL sprayed on walls and ceilings. Loose, crumbly, or water-damaged material may release fibers. So will sanding, drilling, or scraping the material.
  • PATCHING AND JOINT COMPOUNDS for walls and ceilings, and TEXTURED PAINTS. Sanding, scraping, or drilling these surfaces may release asbestos.
  • ASBESTOS CEMENT ROOFING, SHINGLES, and SIDING. These products are not likely to release asbestos fibers unless they are sawed, drilled, or cut. These products have been used extensively in some areas of the world. 
  • ARTIFICIAL ASHES AND EMBERS sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces. Also, other older household products such as FIREPROOF GLOVES, STOVE-TOP PADS, IRONING BOARD COVERS, and certain HAIRDRYERS.
  • AUTOMOBILE BRAKE PADS AND LININGS, CLUTCH FACINGS, and GASKETS.
Asbestos Pipe Insulation
Asbestos Insulation

Two Examples Of Friable Asbestos Pipe Insulation


What should you do... if there is potential source of asbestos in your home?

Please get it tested especially if it is friable or crumbly. There are inexpensive test kits available; or hire a contractor to check it out.

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