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How to Detect Asbestos: 5 Signs Your House Has an Asbestos Problem

Prior to the 1980s, asbestos was the standard fire safety equipment used in home construction. The side effects on our health weren’t understood fully until well into the 20th century.

image - How to Detect Asbestos - 5 Signs Your House Has an Asbestos Problem
How to Detect Asbestos – 5 Signs Your House Has an Asbestos Problem

Millions of homes, commercial buildings, and structures were built using asbestos as a fire-retardant and we’re just now realizing the consequences on our health. When determining how to detect asbestos there are a few symptoms and considerations to look for.

From dry coughs to when your house was built, this guide has some helpful things to watch out for if you suspect your home contains asbestos.


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What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a fire retardant material that was used during residential and commercial construction, primarily before the 1980s. If your home was built before the 80s, there is a very high chance that your home contained some amount of asbestos at some point.

If you suspect your home contains asbestos, proper asbestos removal should be done as soon as possible to prevent anyone in your home from becoming sick.

Asbestos was a popular building material because of its resistance to heat as well as its fiber strength. You can find it in anything from building materials to manufactured goods such as shingles and tiles.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in the United States, use of the material is regulated but it has never been officially banned so even in some newer construction, asbestos may have been used.

How to Detect Asbestos?

Asbestos can be found in several places in your home or commercial building. Aside from your home’s age, the use of certain materials may also indicate the presence of asbestos.

Typically, you can detect asbestos in attics, and walls with insulation products, on vinyl floor tiles, on roofs, in textured paints, as well as on walls and floors near heaters, fireplaces, hot water tanks, and furnaces.

Asbestos can be detected in residential homes, workplaces, schools, and even in drinking water.

During home construction, remodeling, or maintenance, asbestos products are disturbed and particles and are released into the air.

If you have bitumen roofing styles or a flat corrugated roof, these often contain high amounts of asbestos. Pipe insulation, older vinyl flooring tile, and old ceilings will usually contain asbestos as well.

Asbestosis Symptoms

If you are exposed to asbestos there are a few warning signs that you may have an asbestos-related condition.

When you come in contact directly with asbestos during construction or home remodeling, for example, you may develop an asbestos rash that looks similar to hives.

You can also experience shortness of breath. The asbestos fibers can cause your lungs to form scar tissue. The scar tissue will cause difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.

You may also feel extreme fatigue and tiredness. Wheezing with a persistent dry cough can be a side effect to watch out for.  Inflammation in your lungs can make it difficult to breathe and you may find yourself with a dry cough that lasts for years.

You may also see swollen, clubbed fingertips after working with asbestos materials.

What to Do If Exposed to Asbestos?

If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos seek medical attention if you believe you have been exposed for a long period of time.

Get your home inspected before you purchase it to determine if your home contains large amounts that could be harmful. Especially, if you are purchasing an older home.

Lastly, get asbestos safely removed by a professional to avoid harmful exposure. Professionals will best know how to detect asbestos.

For more great resources, visit the home improvement section for helpful tips, guides, and home renovation ideas.


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