How to know if you have asbestos poisoning
How to detect asbestos. Source: Labor

Asbestos is still an issue for some homes, luckily just not as prevalent nowadays. The main thing to keep in mind is that should you find out your home has asbestos, do not touch it yourself.

“Those are exactly the kind of memories I try to avoid, but they're like asbestos: invisible and deadly. You need special gear to get rid of them.” - Kristin Hannah

Under no circumstances should you attempt to remove it without a professional. This is very important to keep in mind as long-term exposure can result in a lung cancer known as mesothelioma.

Also ingestion of the material can be fatal. Asbestos fibers can be found in:

  • Popcorn ceilings
  • Roofing materials
  • Old ceilings
  • Insulation
  • Siding
  • Mastic
  • Floor tiles
  • Pipe tape

When Was Asbestos Used in Homes?

How to identify asbestos insulation
Asbestos in walls - what does it look like? Source: Camblab

Asbestos was used in housing production for most of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1899, Dr. Montague Murray began documenting the negative health effects of asbestos exposure, with the first case of asbestos death in 1906.

Unfortunately there was a lot of evidence that supported the idea of the asbestos industry hiding a lot of information regarding health risks from the public from 1930 to 1980. The U.S. finally banned asbestos as a building material in 1989.

A brief timeline follows:

  • 1858 - Asbestos industry founded
  • 1918 - U.S. government recognizes asbestos risk
  • 1933 - The disease “asbestosis” reported in America
  • 1934 - Links between asbestos and cancer discovered
  • 1953 - Mesothelioma found in asbestos workers
  • 1960 - It is discovered that the asbestos industry knew of the health risks
  • 1967 - First successful personal injury claim
  • 1970 - “Clean Air” act approved by congress
  • 1974 - Federal regulations on asbestos are increased
  • 1989 - Asbestos banned

Widespread Production

Asbestos exposure and how to avoid it
Asbestos fibers. Source PSmag

Although it had been around since the 1800s the industry really ramped up production in the 1940s.

This lead to a boom in new homes being built with asbestos, which led to an increase in asbestos dangers, naturally. Any home built before 1980 could potentially contain asbestos in the structure, namely the ceiling and walls.

How to Tell if Your Home Has Asbestos

How to identify asbestos insulation
What it looks like and how to stay safe. Source: NPR

There’s no way an untrained homeowner would know if they had asbestos in their home, which is why you’ll want to have a professional examine your interior. Because only licensed and trained professionals know how to identify asbestos insulation, it’s best that you do not handle any part of the job yourself. The asbestos mineral is a highly toxic material to humans and associated with numerous respiratory issues.

Was your home built before 1980? Request a free quote today to see if your home has asbestos.

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