Asbestos was commonly used in construction materials until the 1970’s which means you may well discover it in an older home. It is a mineral fiber and was used in products to give them added strength. It also was used because of its effectiveness to provide heat insulation and fire resistance, so its easy to see why it was so popular before there was much knowledge of its dangers.
What are the health risks associated with asbestos? There are some very serious health risks associated with asbestos. Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, a scarring of the lungs, and mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. With these facts in mind its clear to see why asbestos should be removed from a home. But, how does someone become exposed to asbestos fibers? When materials containing asbestos become disturbed from sanding, scraping or handling in general, this can release asbestos fibers into the air. These fibers are very small and when breathed in will stay in the lungs for a long time, increasing the risk of disease.
If you suspect that there is asbestos in your home, do not try to remove it or handle it yourself but seek the advice of someone professionally trained in the removal of asbestos. It is always better to be safe.