Asbestos mineral fibers were once a common household building material. Primarily found in the insulation of homes built prior to 1979, these fibers, if disturbed and inhaled, can have deadly consequences. The principal effects of high exposure to asbestos as reported by the ALA are: lung cancer, asbestosis – ascarring of the lungs, and mesothelioma – a cancer that attacks the abdominal cavity and chest lining. Unfortunately, the symptoms of overexposure may take as many as 30 years to present themselves.
Although it ceased being used in 1978, asbestos may still exist in many homes today. Some of the following places in your home may contain asbestos fibers.
- Any place with insulation, such as furnace ducts or boilers.
- Roof shingles
- Floor tiles, and adhesives used to mount them
If you think asbestos is present in your home, remember that it is best left untouched. The ALA reports that it is only hazardous when ingested. Therefore, unless you suspect you have disturbed an area where asbestos fibers may be present, there is no cause for alarm.