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Where Is Asbestos Found? Sources of Exposure

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of microscopic fibrous particles. Asbestos was well-suited for commercial and industrial purposes because these fibers are durable, fire-resistant, and heat-resistant.

Because of its initial popularity, asbestos is still in many places. However, beginning in the 1960s, asbestos was shown to cause terminal illnesses such as mesothelioma. According to the National Cancer Institute's fact sheet, asbestos causes lung cancer and other adverse health effects.

As a result, the EPA banned all new uses of asbestos in the United States, but this doesn't mean there aren't still high-risk properties. The risk of asbestos exposure is still possible today. It depends on the types of asbestos and the duration of your exposure.

This section will explain where you may find asbestos in your home. It will also discuss whether you may encounter asbestos and asbestos dust in the workplace.

Where Is Asbestos Found in Homes?

Depending on the age of your home, there may be asbestos inside. Before 1978, construction companies used asbestos all the time. It wasn't until 1978 that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlawed the use of asbestos in new construction and home renovations. At this time, scientists were discovering the link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.

This is one of the reasons why so many homeowners still discover asbestos in their property. When this happens, you must perform immediate remediation. That's the only way to keep your family and guests safe.

Typical uses of asbestos in American home construction materials include:

  • Roofing shingles
  • Siding
  • Vinyl Floor tiles
  • Vermiculite Insulation in houses built between 1930 and 1950
  • Paint applied before 1977
  • Asbestos cement
  • Joint compound
  • Millboard decking
  • Sheetrock patching
  • Drywall
  • Fireproofing materials
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Cement pipes
  • Coating surrounding hot water pipes or steam pipes
  • Tiles surrounding stoves, fireplaces, or furnaces
  • Vinyl flooring

It's important to remember that just because you have an older house, it doesn't mean it poses a health risk. However, leaving asbestos-containing material alone is probably best if those items are intact and in good condition.

You should contact a professional who can assess the risk and remove the materials if necessary. Asbestos poses a danger only if the fibers are disturbed in some way and released into the air, where people can inhale them.

Building materials that are still in good condition may pose no health risk.

Where Is Asbestos Found in the Workplace?

Asbestos was especially suitable for materials in the workplace because it's durable and resistant. However, the nature of the workplace means that asbestos fibers are more likely to be released into the air. Accordingly, workplace materials containing asbestos can pose more of a health risk than similar materials in the home. Everyday workplace items that may have asbestos include:

  • Acoustic and soundproofing material
  • Boiler insulation material
  • Caulking material
  • Fire blankets and curtains
  • Asbestos insulation
  • Laboratory gloves
  • Packing material
  • Spackling products

Because the adverse health consequences of asbestos exposure often take years or even decades to develop, it may be challenging to determine which workplace items caused a patient to develop asbestosis or mesothelioma.

Employees who have worked in the same workplace for several years will often develop similar symptoms. They are more likely to come into contact with asbestos fibers during their jobs, primarily if they work in shipbuilding.

Workers also put their loved ones at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. They come home in asbestos-contaminated clothes and shoes and transfer the asbestos inside their home.

Where Is Asbestos Found in Consumer Products?

Certain consumer goods or household items also contain asbestos. Found primarily in appliances, it can also appear in toys, talc, and potting soil. Asbestos-containing products also include the following:

  • Clothing irons
  • Crayons
  • Certain textiles
  • Brake shoes
  • Asbestos paper
  • Plastics
  • Gaskets
  • Adhesives
  • Brake pads
  • Brake linings
  • Hair dryers
  • Chalkboards
  • Children's toys
  • Talcum powder
  • Talc in cosmetics
  • Talc-based baby powders

Even though asbestos is generally no longer used in everyday consumer items manufactured in the United States, you can find asbestos in products imported into the United States from abroad. Certain consumer advocacy groups regularly test such products for traces of asbestos and publish their findings if there is a potential health hazard associated with them.

Have an Attorney Review Your Asbestos Claim

Even though manufacturers have phased out the use of asbestos in consumer products, it may still be in many older buildings and your home. Asbestos-related illnesses have become more rare, but they can take decades to develop.

If you believe you may have come into contact with asbestos and developed symptoms of an asbestos-related illness, seek immediate medical care. You should also contact a qualified local asbestos attorney. If you're having health problems related to asbestos exposure, they can help you find justice.

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