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December 9, 2023

What You Need to Know About Asbestos Contamination in Older Homes

If your home was built before the 80s, some materials in its structure might contain asbestos. Nowadays, most homeowners prefer to handle home renovations themselves. Without the proper knowledge and precaution, you could end up exposing you and your family to the risk of developing mesothelioma.

How Asbestos Can Cause Cancer

Asbestos, a natural mineral, comprises numerous thin fibers. When renovating your home, damaging asbestos-based components makes these fibers airborne. Once someone takes in this toxic air, these hazards end up lodging themselves in the internal organs. As a result, they cause the development of tumors in the heart, lungs, or abdomen’s linings.

Exposure to microscopic asbestos fibers is the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer. During home remodeling actions such as knocking down ceilings and walls, you could disturb the asbestos and release the small fibers into the air. If this happens, everyone around you faces the risk of inhaling or ingesting the asbestos.

Diagnosing Asbestos-Related Diseases

Since there are no visible means of identifying asbestos products, exposure can continue over long periods. The latent qualities of asbestos can leave people unaware of the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases. Health officials end up diagnosing this cancer at least 15 years after exposure.

There is no cure for mesothelioma. Only life-extension treatments can intervene with this fatal disease. Managing the condition may require a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. With the help of a mesothelioma specialist, finding a treatment strategy that will prolong life is possible.

To learn more about asbestos-related cancers, visit Asbestos.Net.

Activities that Could Lead to Asbestos Poisoning

There are various ways through which homeowners or renovators could expose themselves to asbestos microfibers.

Renovating the Attic

In older homes, the insulators that line the attics are likely to contain asbestos. Any disturbance to these components can spread asbestos fibers into the air and risk the development of mesothelioma.

Destroying Drywall

Some homes are built using asbestos-containing wallboards. Demolishing or drilling into these walls can quickly release the asbestos into your surroundings.

Disassembling Vinyl Floor Tiles

Vinyl floor tiles in older homes were partly made of asbestos or set in place using asbestos-containing adhesive. Scraping or removing the vinyl floor tiles when replacing old flooring could increase the risk of asbestos-poisoning.

Removing Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings and other textured ceiling finishes contain concealed asbestos. Scraping at the finish will uncover the asbestos and make it airborne.

Cutting Through Pipe Insulations

Since asbestos has heat-resistant properties, it was used in insulating plumbing systems like hot water pipes in older homes. Any agitation to these parts can present a significant danger.

How to Prevent Asbestos Contamination at Home

If you suspect that a component of your home contains asbestos, leave it alone. When you have to remove or replace these parts, contact a certified asbestos expert. Until a professional can provide an assessment, you should keep the area off-limits.


Since older homes may have asbestos-based components in their structure, you have to be careful during their renovation. The most effective way of preventing asbestos contamination in your residence is to know more about the materials in your home’s structure.

The development of mesothelioma from prolonged exposure to these airborne toxins can have devastating effects. Taking the necessary precautions to avoid such hazards will benefit both you and those around you.

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