The Most Dangerous Asbestos Products Which May Lurk in Your Home

The Most Dangerous Asbestos Products Which May Lurk in Your Home

Asbestos-containing materials may be found in anyone's home. They are divided into two groups:

  • Friable. This term refers to materials which can be easily broken and turned into powder when dry, even by hand. Friable materials can release high levels of asbestos in the air if damaged or disturbed and put people at risk of developing serious health conditions. This category of asbestos-containing materials includes products such as boiler insulation and pipe lagging.
  • Non-friable. Also known as "bonded", these asbestos products are characterized by a strong bond between the asbestos fibers and the matrix of the material. Unlike friable asbestos materials, non-friable products which contain asbestos are less likely to release dangerous concentrations of toxic fibers in the air and pose a significantly lower risk to people's health. Some examples of non-friable asbestos-containing materials are floor tiles, cement sheet, and roofing products.

However, whether they are friable or non-friable, asbestos-containing materials become harmful only if they are damaged or disturbed. When they are in good condition, asbestos products entail a low risk of exposure.

The most harmful asbestos products in houses

Thanks to its strength and heat resistance, asbestos has been used for a wide range of applications, especially for construction materials. Therefore, it can be found in a lot of houses built prior to the 1980s, when its use was not regulated by the government. The most dangerous products which might be present in old U.S. homes are:

  • Fireproofing and fire prevention materials. Its heat and fire resistance has made asbestos a very popular choice in the field of fire-resistant construction materials. It was used as a cheap additive in order to create a variety of inexpensive materials, including concrete, roofing shingles, and wallboard. Asbestos-containing fireproofing spray is actually a very dangerous product, as it becomes friable when it dries out and can easily lead to exposure.
  • Insulation. The greatest source of exposure, asbestos insulation, is a toxic product which can still be found in the walls, attics, and basements of many homes. Various types of insulation may be present in homes, such as loose-fill, wrappings, block, and spray-on insulation. Zonolite insulation is, however, one of the products which caused extensive exposure to asbestos. It is made of vermiculite and it can still be found in the attics of more than 20 million homes.
  • Felt in roofing and flooring. Asbestos felt has been widely used during the 20th century and, as a consequence, a lot of inhabitants were exposed to it. Felt used to be made out of synthetic fibers but asbestos's soft and fibrous consistency took over the construction market until its high toxicity was discovered.

Safe asbestos removal

Knowing how to remove asbestos from your home is of high importance in order to avoid accidental exposure. If you have asbestos-containing products in your house and notice signs of severe damage, we recommend you to contact a certified asbestos removal company to help you with the troublesome materials. Moreover, you can check out this guide on how to recognize asbestos-containing products in your house, which also provides a useful list of asbestos removal companies to choose from.

Why Should I Test Products in My Home for Asbestos?

It is often impossible to tell whether asbestos is embedded in a material, as the fibers are too small to be observed with the naked eye. Exposure to asbestos is responsible for serious respiratory conditions, so thorough testing is required to ensure your home is asbestos-free.