Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have banned several asbestos products. Manufacturers have also voluntarily limited uses of asbestos. Presently, asbestos is most commonly found in older homes, pipe and furnace insulation materials, asbestos shingles, millboard, textured paints and other coating materials, and floor tiles.
High concentrations of airborne asbestos can occur after asbestos-containing materials are disturbed by cutting, sanding, and other remodeling activities. Improper attempts to remove these materials can release asbestos fibers into the air in homes, increasing asbestos levels and endangering people living in those homes.
Breathing in asbestos fibers can lead to the following health concerns:
- lung cancer
Steps to reduce asbestos exposure:
- It is best to leave undamaged asbestos material alone if it is not likely to be disturbed.
- Use trained and qualified contractors for control measures that may disturb asbestos and for cleanup.
- Follow proper procedures in replacing wood stove door gaskets that may contain asbestos.