Residents of Arlington Heights, Evanston, and other Chicago suburbs may be surprised to know that asbestos isn’t just one substance – it’s six, each one a naturally-occurring mineral blended together to create asbestos as we know it. Also, many homeowners are likely unaware that although the U.S. government banned numerous asbestos-containing products in 1978, the ban is incomplete – meaning that asbestos is still allowed in the manufacture of such items as:
- Cement shingles
- Vinyl flooring
- Cement-corrugated wallboard
- Roofing felt and coatings
And if you live in an older home, asbestos could still be hiding in places like:
- Caulking, joint compounds, and putty
- Adhesives such as flooring tile glue and duct tape
- Fire doors and curtains
- Acoustical/decorative plaster
- Insulation (in the attic, between walls, and around pipes and boilers)
Along with its widespread use in home-building products, at its height asbestos could be found in 3,000+ consumer products. Some of these products could still be in your home, the result of a hand-me-down appliance or a product manufactured in a certain country whose asbestos regulations are far laxer than those in the U.S. Here are five examples of potentially asbestos-containing everyday items in your home:
When the asbestos ban came down in the late 1970s, domestic hair-dryer manufacturers agreed to stop using asbestos. However, since then the manufacturing of hair dryers (and hundreds of other products as well) has been outsourced to foreign manufacturers. As alluded to above, many of these manufacturers have little to no asbestos regulations. We recommend doing some research online – if you find that your hair dryer could have asbestos, trash it and buy one manufactured in a country with solid regulations.
Many people are aware that baby powder’s main ingredient is talc, a mineral proven to contain asbestos. Similar to hair dryers, U.S. manufacturers have implemented procedures that prevent asbestos from entering the talc used for baby powder and other cosmetic products, but the same can’t be said for foreign manufacturers who don’t follow the same rules we do. Check the label on your baby powder or other talc-containing product to confirm its origin.
If you purchased a crock pot within the last several years, you’re probably in the clear. However, if your crock pot is a hand-me-down of a hand-me-down, consider replacing it. Crock pots of yore utilized asbestos in their heat-retaining lining and in their power cords.
An old-school popcorn popper may seem cool for nostalgic purposes, but you should think twice when you consider that asbestos was used in the electrical device which heated the air that popped the popcorn. Asbestos may also be present in the popper’s power cord. Also, just like everything else on this list, be wary of buying a new popcorn popper manufactured overseas.
This is the big one, and it’s more a collection of items than any single thing. Before you dive into your DIY project and start removing your home’s popcorn ceiling, flooring, sheetrock, and other items we listed above, you should consult an asbestos abatement firm like Axis Response Group. We provide invaluable assistance when it comes to evaluating a home for the presence of asbestos – especially if the home was built prior to 1978.