Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Dangers of Asbestos in Homes and Appliances


Although asbestos hasn’t been used in decades to build homes and in the construction of most major appliances, the unfortunate fact is that millions of families in the United States live in older homes that was constructed during a time in which asbestos was heavily used. Years of research and studies performed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral, was the direct cause of extremely dangerous diseases such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis. Many asbestos victims have filed mesothelioma lawsuits against asbestos companies due to the devastating effects of asbestos on their health.

If you and your family live in an older home and/or have older appliances in the home, it’s important to understand just how hazardous asbestos is and what you can do to protect yourself and loved ones.

What is Asbestos and Why Was it Used?:

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), asbestos is a group of six minerals that’s found naturally in mines and under large boulders. It has a strong resistance to heat and fire, and therefore was once used extensively in products, equipment, and buildings. In the late 1970s, after many upheavals, the EPA regulated asbestos after it was found that the mineral’s fine fibers can easily be inhaled. Once ingested, these fibers will eventually wreak havoc inside the body and they are almost impossible to remove. When asbestos fibers stay in the body for too long, people risk developing life-threatening diseases.

Even though asbestos was banned from most job sites and products, anything previously built with asbestos, such as homes and appliances, were not demolished. As a result, there are arrays of older homes, built with asbestos, that are still occupied to this day, as well as a multitude of appliances.

Before Your Repair or Renovate Your Home

If you live in a home that was built prior to the early 1980s, do not do any repairs until a state-certified, qualified asbestos technician can inspect your home. Asbestos is not visible to the naked eye, and most states require a thorough inspection by a qualified technician before you can make any renovations on a home that contains asbestos.

For older appliances, be certain that children never play anywhere near the area. Asbestos is typically safe unless it’s disturbed. Even doing small repairs on appliances that contain asbestos may disturb the fibers. This also goes for old shed and/or abandoned buildings. Make sure your kids know to never play around these structures as there is a chance they may ingest airborne asbestos fibers. 

Remember, if you have any doubts at all as to whether your home or any appliances contain asbestos, it’s best to not take the chances of disturbing the fibers. Instead, seek qualified help in order to ensure that your family stays safe.


Guest post contributed by R. Walker

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