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Asbestos can still be lingering in old homes

Old houses are not only abundant in North Carolina, but throughout the country, and substances used to build those homes have the potential to cause lung diseases and mesothelioma. Now, it is being recommended home owners should check their place of residence and make sure there is no risk of dealing with a potential premises liability.

Some old houses can contain asbestos, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to the National Cancer Institute, it was used until the 1980s in insulation and building materials, and typically found within house walls or in the attic.

Asbestos is a fibrous material that can be separated, and was discovered in the 1930s to have the ability to cause diseases which can prove fatal, including cancer. It was used because it does not conduct electricity and is heat and chemical resistant.

Asbestos played a large part in home insulation. Residents should check boilers, furnace ducts and steam pipes throughout the building. If a home has a wood stove, residents should also check the millboard and cement sheets. Roofs are prime areas for asbestos as well, as the material was used for shingles. Cements, ceiling tiles, flooring, ovens and other items should be considered.

If one is suspicious of asbestos in the home, care should be taken as to not cut into the material, as it can release harmful carcinogens into the air.

Cars also used to contain the hazardous material, as it was used for many years in brake pads, clutch facings, gaskets and transmissions. Residents should also make sure they are not driving a vehicle containing asbestos by having it checked by a professional.

Source: The Safety Report, "Older Home? Time for an Asbestos Check," Steven Kazan, Dec. 27, 2011

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