Where Asbestos is Commonly Found in Buildings

Professionals in protective suits removing asbestos

Up until the past handful of decades, asbestos was heavily used in building materials. It was cheap, accessible, and, at the time, we didn’t see any downsides. But that didn’t last. Now, it’s crucial to recognize what building products in your home may contain asbestos.

A Brief Explanation of Asbestos

Asbestos is a term that refers to six naturally occurring minerals composed of microscopic fibers:

  • Chrysotile
  • Amosite
  •  Crocidolite
  •  Anthophyllite
  • Tremolite
  • Actinolite

The microscopic fibers that make up asbestos are strong, durable, and can even function as a flame and heat retardant, making them prime material for construction and industrial use.

However, the dangers of asbestos became apparent when it was discovered that asbestos released airborne microscopic filaments when interacted with. If inhaled, these tiny fibers would embed themselves into the soft tissues of the lungs and throat, eventually causing deadly health conditions such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Asbestos in Buildings

While the use of asbestos has declined (and is even banned in many countries), specific types of asbestos can still be found in many building products even today. So let’s discuss where you may still be able to find this dangerous mineral within your home.

  1. Chrysotile, also referred to as white asbestos, is the most common form of asbestos. It is most often found in ceiling sealants, roofing materials, plaster walls, gaskets, and certain cement flooring.

  2. Amosite, or brown asbestos, is the second most common form of asbestos. It was primarily utilized in thermal and pipe insulation, cement sheets, and ceiling tiles.

  3. Crocidolite, known as blue asbestos, was mainly found in yarn and rope lagging used as pipe insulation and spray-on insulation. Crocidolite only makes up 4% of asbestos in the U.S.

  4. Anthophyllite had its limited use in composite flooring. It mainly occurs as a contaminant in chrysolite, talc, and vermiculite.

While tremolite and actinolite are not used commercially, they are also found as contaminants in chrysolite, talc, and vermiculite.

When Does Asbestos Become a Health Hazard?

Asbestos was a staple in construction and manufacturing, peaking in the early 1940s through the 1970s. This means that any houses or building products constructed during this time asbestos has a very high chance of still being present.

While this alone shouldn’t cause panic for homeowners—exposure only occurs when the asbestos is disturbed—this is a huge concern for construction workers, maintenance workers, and anyone who interacts with contaminated building materials.

Due to the nature of asbestos, disturbing asbestos-containing materials during the construction, demolition, remodeling, repair, and maintenance of a building increases the risk of exposure. Any amount of asbestos exposure is bad exposure. Our bodies have no way to remove the unwanted particles once they have embedded themselves.

This is why it is crucial to hire professional inspectors to determine whether or not your home contains asbestos in any part of the construction. This is vital to do before engaging in any remodeling, construction, maintenance, etc., to protect you, your family, and the workers themselves.

It’s essential to keep in mind that asbestos was not only used in building materials but also in the manufacturing process of some tools and products that may have been used in the building process as well.

Have You or a Loved One Been Exposed to Asbestos?

If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos-contaminated products or are suffering from adverse health issues due to that exposure, we recommend seeking legal counsel immediately. At Cooney & Conway, our asbestos litigation experts will fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.