According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, most products made today don’t contain asbestos, and the few modern-day products still containing asbestos that could be inhaled must be labeled as such.
That’s because studies of people who were exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards indicate that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of:
- lung cancer;
- mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity; and
- asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.
But until the 1970s, according to the EPA, many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos. Common products that might have contained asbestos in the past, and conditions which may release fibers, include:
- 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 can scraping or sanding the backing of sheet flooring during removal.
- Cement sheet, millboard, and paper used as insulation around furnaces and woodburning 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 sawed, drilled or cut.
- 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.
If you or a loved one have contracted mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, contact Lopez McHugh for a free consultation.