Reaching peak use in the 1970s, asbestos was a highly popular material with wide-ranging applications due to its insulation, fire-retardant and friction-boosting properties. Despite regulations to limit asbestos use due to links to cancer and other serious diseases, the toxic material is not banned in the U.S. and is still being used today.
If you’re concerned about the risks associated with asbestos and suspect that elements of your property may contain the material, here are four signs to look for as indications that you’re due for an asbestos assessment:
- DIY home improvement: Before undertaking a home renovation project yourself, you may want to consult professionals and have an asbestos assessment if you suspect the affected area contains this carcinogenic material. Assuming that your home is asbestos-free is not always the best practice, as a survey found that only seven percent of Americans have tested their homes for asbestos, according to Asbestos.com.
- Disturbances to the building: A natural or manmade disruption to your property’s infrastructure has the potential to disrupt asbestos materials and release its fibers, which can be harmful if inhaled. Certain items that were commonly made using asbestos, including hot water pipes, roof shingles, and ceiling finishes, should be closely monitored for signs of disturbance and receive an asbestos assessment if a risk is suspected.
- Built before 1980: Though asbestos fell out of use following the 1980s due to findings about its cancerous properties, it was used in many industries and products for nearly a century prior. So if your house was built before 1980, it may be in need of a professional asbestos assessment.
- Deterioration: When components of your home that contain asbestos age or break, they may expel particles so small that they’re invisible to the human eye. Especially in older structures, it’s important to keep an eye on features that most commonly contain asbestos to watch for signs of wear.