Prior to the 1970s, a number of industries, including home construction and manufacturing, used asbestos in many of their products. Once the dangers of asbestos and its potential link to cancer was discovered, most companies stopped using it. That doesn't mean that the potential dangers of asbestos have vanished. Since it was used in so many things found in the home, asbestos still poses a viable health hazard. To protect yourself and your family, it's important to recognize where these dangers may be hiding in your home. Here's a look at the top three things in your home that could still contain asbestos.
Insulation in homes built prior to 1980 likely contains asbestos. Many manufacturers were unaware of the dangers it possessed and used it because it was a good insulator, and it was fire retardant. In 1978, after experts designated asbestos as a carcinogen, the United States banned the use of it in all types of insulation. This older insulation in homes can cause a significant health issue for residents, especially if the insulation is damaged, or the homeowner decides to repair or replace it. This step causes fibers of the insulation to enter the air. Breathing in too much asbestos over a long period of time can lead to respiratory issues, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
It might surprise you to learn that a product designated for babies may contain asbestos, but studies show that some do. Talc, which is used in baby powder as well as in some cosmetics, has been found to contain traces of asbestos. While many companies have taken steps to remove asbestos from their products, FDA tests show that some traces of asbestos can still be found in baby powders. Prolonged use of baby powder can lead to substantial health issues, including not only mesothelioma but ovarian cancer as well. In fact, according to The Law Offices of George Salinas, evidence of talcum powder's connection to ovarian cancer has increased over the last several years.
Tending your own garden is a great way to cultivate beautiful flowers and maintain a steady supply of fresh vegetables. However, it's vital that you carefully select the garden supplies you use. Everything from fertilizers to potting soil has been known to have traces of asbestos. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the culprit is vermiculite. While this is a natural compound, it's often mined close to asbestos deposits, which enables asbestos particles to be mixed in with it. In order to avoid asbestos altogether, it is best to select gardening products that don't contain vermiculite. Otherwise, select premixed soils to avoid breathing in dust particles that may include asbestos when mixing soils.
Unfortunately, there is no way to look at a product and know whether it contains asbestos. In addition, it could take years before you start exhibiting any health issues associated with asbestos. It's best to avoid products that are known to contain asbestos and always read the labels prior to making a purchase. If you're considering starting any home remodeling or upgrade project that includes areas that might contain asbestos, always have a professional come in and inspect and test the area before doing anything else.
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