In the era of do-it-yourself home renovations, many homeowners are knocking down ceilings and walls, and tearing out floor tiles and old pipes. But in their efforts to upgrade and beautify their older homes, they might unknowingly be contaminating the air they breathe with toxic asbestos fibers.
This resource guide, provided by asbestos.com, offers information about asbestos, its dangers, what to do if you suspect it’s in your home, the dos and don’ts when handling asbestos and other useful information to keep you, your family and others safe in your home.
Is Asbestos in Your House Dangerous?
Asbestos is a natural mineral composed of thin fibers. When residential construction products made with asbestos are damaged, those fibers become airborne and could pose a danger to anyone who inhales the toxic dust.
After years of exposure to those fibers, people may develop a cancer known as mesothelioma, which forms tumors on the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart.
Asbestos Risk by State
Asbestos does not occur naturally in Florida, but large amounts of it were shipped to the state and even more contaminated products were used commercially in construction and other industries. According to records, at least 109,949 tons of asbestos were shipped from Libby, Montana, for processing in five Florida cities: Boca Raton, Jacksonville, Pompano Beach, St. Petersburg and Tampa.
Hundreds of Florida buildings harbor asbestos-containing materials (ACM), but as long as they are not damaged or disturbed, they are considered nearly harmless. However, many business and property owners in the state have taken steps to remove the asbestos from their buildings out of fear of harm to the public. The number of asbestos lawsuits filed (and won) in Florida is also a motivator to prevent harmful exposure. Others have left the materials in place, and instead, developed awareness and management programs, which help to manage the asbestos at these facilities.
Mesothelioma incidence rates are higher in states in the northeast and northwest United States, where asbestos mining and processing was common throughout much of the 20th century. Mining towns such as Libby, Montana, and Ambler, Pennsylvania, continue to deal with the deadly legacy of the asbestos industry.
States in the West are also a hotbed for environmental asbestos exposure, with naturally occurring deposits of asbestos in many of the mountainous regions of Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming and California.
Other states synonymous with manufacturing and trade have high incidence rates of asbestos-related diseases, including New Jersey, Michigan and Texas. States with some of America’s largest shipyards saw high rates of asbestos exposure, including California, New York and Louisiana.
When in Doubt, Seek Treatment
While the information provided here is well researched, truthful and sourced from mesothelioma specialists, oncologists and reputable medical journals, the information on Asbestos.com is not intended as a substitute for professional health care. You should always consult a doctor or another qualified health provider with your questions about your health and well-being.