Domestic Asbestos Exposure
With aging, asbestos products deteriorate and some will also become brittle. Asbestos fibers can escape from building materials which are in poor condition with the slightest disturbance, as well as from friable products like insulation or pipe lagging. Some old household appliances such as toasters or hair dryers may contain asbestos as well.
Domestic asbestos exposure is most likely to occur in houses built before the mid 1980s. If you inhabit such a building, we suggest you check it for asbestos-containing products. You can find a list of the most common building materials in which asbestos might be present on the homepage. It is important to know that non-friable, undamaged asbestos materials do not imply a high risk of exposure, so removing this type of products will not be necessary as long as they are in good condition.
You should avoid disturbing asbestos-containing materials in any way and if they are severely damaged, we strongly advise you to contact a professional asbestos abatement company which will safely dispose of the hazard.
How Dangerous Is Domestic Asbestos Exposure?
Although occupational asbestos exposure is unquestionably the most likely to result in a debilitating illness, since it would involve high concentrations of airborne toxic fibers and would often take place over the course of several years, inhaling asbestos fibers released by household products can also affect your health. While the risk of developing a serious disease following domestic asbestos exposure is generally low, it can increase tremendously if repeated contact with hazardous products occurs. Therefore, having a certified asbestos removal company discard of all the damaged asbestos-containing products in your house is crucial to ensure a safe environment for you and your family. You can find a list of professional asbestos removal companies for each U.S. state in the appendix of our downloadable guide.
Unfortunately, heavy domestic asbestos exposure can cause the entire range of diseases which may ensue after inhaling toxic fibers in the workplace, from non-malignant conditions such as COPD or pleural plaques to life-threatening illnesses like mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you inhabit a house which has or had asbestos-containing products in poor condition and experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, a chronic dry cough, chest pain, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss, we strongly advise you to seek medical attention immediately, as your health might be at stake.
What Are Other Household Products Which Might Contain Asbestos?
In addition to building materials, the following household appliances and objects might also contain asbestos if they were manufactured before the mid-1980s:
- clothing irons
- curling irons
- portable dishwashers
- popcorn poppers
- washing machines
- ironing boards
- coffee pots
- slow cookers
- bottle warmers
Refraining from using these devices or, better yet, discarding of them in accordance with your state’s asbestos laws is highly recommended, as exposure is likely to happen due to their age and condition. Fortunately, household appliances are no longer manufactured with asbestos nowadays in the United States, so you can easily replace old products with hazard-free alternatives.