- Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.
- Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos insulation.
- Asbestos may be present in textures paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977. However, in 1991, that ban was overturned.
- Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
- Older products such as stovetop pads may have some asbestos compounds.
- Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets.
Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coasted with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets my have asbestos insulation.
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What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the name of a group of highly fibrous minerals with separable, long, and thin fibers. Separated asbestos fibers are strong enough and flexible enough to be spun and woven.Asbestos fibers are heat resistant, making them useful for many industrial purposes.Because of their durability, asbestos fibers that get into lung tissue will remain for long periods of time.
Types of Asbestos
Types of Asbestos
Asbestos has long been suspected as a health threat to humans, because the fibers can be inhaled and are difficult to remove from the lungs. Significant exposure to any type of asbestos will increase the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders, including asbestosis, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and pleural effusions.This conclusion is based on observations of these diseases in groups of workers with cumulative exposures ranging from about 5 to 1,200 fiber-year/mL.Such exposures would result from 40 years of occupational exposure to air concentrations of 0.125 to 30 fiber/mL.
Diseases from asbestos exposure take a long time to develop.Most cases of lung cancer or asbestosis in asbestos workers occur 15 or more years after initial exposure to asbestos.Tobacco smokers who have been exposed to asbestos have a “far greater-than-additive” risk for lung cancer than do nonsmokers who have been exposed, meaning the risk is greater than the individual risks from asbestos and smoking added together. The time between diagnosis of mesothelioma and the time of initial occupational exposure to asbestos commonly has been 30 years or more.Cases of mesotheliomas have been reported after household exposure of family members of asbestos workers and in individuals without occupational exposure who live close to asbestos mines.
Long and thin fibers are expected to reach the lower airways and alveolar regions of the lung, to be retained in the lung longer, and to be more toxic than short and wide fibers or particles.Wide particles are expected to be deposited in the upper respiratory tract and not to reach the lung and pleura, the sites of asbestos-induced toxicity.Short, thin fibers, however, may also play a role in asbestos pathogenesis.Fibers of amphibole asbestos such as tremolite asbestos, actinolite asbestos, and crocidolite asbestos are retained longer in the lower respiratory tract than chrysotile fibers of similar dimension.