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Household and Consumer Products Containing Asbestos

Asbestos containing materials are present in many homes throughout the United States. Asbestos poses a risk when it becomes friable, meaning it can be broken or crumble easily. Asbestos was commonly added to many home building materials before 1979. Although asbestos stopped being manufactured at that time due to federal regulations, products containing the toxic mineral continued to be used until the existing supply was exhausted, until the early 1980s.

Infographic of asbestos products in the home


Where to Look for Asbestos in Your Home

Asbestos containing products were used throughout all areas of a home. Just because your house may be built with such products does not necessarily mean you are at risk of harmful exposure. As long as materials containing asbestos are intact and in good condition they do not pose a threat and it is highly recommended to leave them alone. However, if these materials are damaged or in deteriorated condition, or if you are planning to repair, remodel, or demolish your home, hiring a certified asbestos abatement specialist is highly recommended. There is no way to identify whether a product contains asbestos or not, unless tested. Professionals can test and locate all asbestos products in your home, and give guidance on whether to encapsulate or seal, remove, or leave them alone.

How to Avoid Asbestos Exposure in Your Home

Because information about the contents of many household products is not readily available, most consumers are unaware that these common household products may contain asbestos. Note that the use of asbestos in such household products was banned after 1979.

As a homeowner, the following guidelines may help to avoid any unwanted exposure.

  • Take all precautions not to damage or disturb known materials and products that contain asbestos.
  • If a known asbestos containing material is damaged in your home, seal off or keep all activities in that area to a minimum.
  • Hire qualified asbestos professionals to perform any testing, handling, repair, or removal.
  • Do NOT dust, sweep, or vacuum debris that contains asbestos. This will increase chance of exposure by disturbing the fibers and releasing them into the air where they can be easily inhaled.
  • Do NOT sand, scrape, saw, or drill holes into asbestos products. Likewise, do not use any abrasive pads, brushes, or power strippers on dry asbestos flooring.
  • Keep any disturbed ACMs contained, preferably wet so that dust or fibers can do not become airborne.

Remember that it only takes inhalation or ingestion of a single microscopic fiber to decades later develop into mesothelioma or other serious asbestos related diseases. If you have any question about asbestos materials in your home, hire a trained asbestos abatement professional to identify and help you manage them.