Although government regulations now prevent asbestos from being used in most household items, asbestos was used in almost every industry for many decades. In fact, asbestos was used to make thousands of household items up until the 1980s. As a result, many households may still contain materials and items made with asbestos. Household items that may contain asbestos include:

  • Joint compound
  • Roofing tar
  • Brake pads
  • Fireproofing
  • Pipes
  • Insulation
  • Countertops
  • Floor tiles
  • Textured wall and ceiling coatings

Household items containing asbestos do not present any health hazards when intact. However, if these household items are damaged, they may emit dangerous asbestos fibers into the air where humans and pets can inhale them. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell whether something contains asbestos just by looking at it. Therefore, preventing asbestos exposure may require having suspicious items tested for asbestos.

What to do with Household Items Containing Asbestos

Because damaged household items emit asbestos fibers into the air, trying to remove them yourself is dangerous. In fact, leaving household items containing asbestos in the house is often safer than removing them yourself. If household items containing asbestos are damaged or need to be removed for some other reason, a professional abatement company should be used.

In some instances, the best way to deal with household items containing asbestos is to cover them up. For example, covering old asbestos floor tiles with just about anything will prevent asbestos fibers from being released into the air. For example, covering the tiles with new carpeting, vinyl flooring, linoleum, or even ceramic tiles will do the trick.

When household items containing asbestos are covered up or left alone, homeowners should make some note of the fact that asbestos is still present in the house. While leaving particular household items containing asbestos in place may be safe at the moment, those same household items may be a health hazard in the future. Making a note that asbestos is present or hidden in the house may protect others from asbestos exposure in the future, for example, when future occupants decide to remodel.

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Published November 17, 2011 by