Exposure to asbestos has no limitations. It can happen nearly anywhere, mostly due to asbestos being used everywhere for decades.

Here’s a scary thought: Your home may be filled with this cancerous substance.

Asbestos exposure at home occurs in older houses, particularly those built prior to the 1980s. The substance, which is the only scientific cause of mesothelioma, could be in your kitchen appliances, hiding in your walls, or sitting on your roof shingles. It could also be on your couch or inside that bottle of baby powder.

If you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma and don’t know how you were exposed to asbestos, consider contacting our team. Our patient advocate and registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, can help you learn about your cancer, including how it came to be. Email her at jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com.

 

Home Appliances With Asbestos

Asbestos was a fire-resistant substance with the ability to preserve household components for decades. Any appliances at risk of catching on fire or heat damage were obvious choices for asbestos’ inclusion.

These appliances filled American homes with the potential for secondary asbestos exposure. They include:

  • Dishwashers
  • Washer and dryer machines
  • Toasters
  • Baking ovens
  • Oven mitts
  • Stoves and stovetops
  • Electrical sockets
  • Hairdryers
  • Heaters
  • Lamp wicks
  • Ironing boards

 

Asbestos Exposure From Renovation Projects

During the middle of the 20th century, new homes lined the streets of up-and-coming American neighborhoods. Some 50, 60 or even 70 years later, those homes no longer have their “new” label.

They’re old, classic homes in need of renovation. The paint-chipped walls, deteriorating foundation and mold-infested ceilings are signs of a much-needed rehabilitation. However, any attempt to make an old home look new again could be dangerous.

Renovation projects open up dangerous exposure doorways. “Legacy asbestos” refers to the presence of old, deteriorating asbestos in old, deteriorating buildings. Tearing down walls, replacing or power washing roof shingles, eradicating mold, and more home-renovation work can disturb this already-delicate legacy asbestos.

Any disruption can send sharp fragments into the air. Since renovation jobs often require breathing in tight, asbestos-filled spaces, working without protective equipment can lead to potentially deadly exposure.

 

Infecting Health and Beauty Products

While asbestos is mostly fazed out of American commercialism, it can sneak into products that include neighboring minerals as an ingredient. A perfect example is talc.

Talc and asbestos often share the same geographical areas, which means they can mix during mining procedures. Talc is ground into a powder, called talcum powder, to absorb moisture and keep skin healthy. It is used in cleaning powders, cosmetics and more.

However, loose asbestos strands may contaminate the powder, putting any consumer at risk. In recent years, talc products like Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder have emerged as potential home exposure methods.

Asbestos exposure from talc products has caused an uptick in women with mesothelioma. Avoiding any powders that include talc is recommended.

 

Workers Bringing Asbestos Into the Home

During the 20th century, one of the most common at-home exposure methods involved transferring loose fibers from one person to another. Workers in at-risk occupations — building construction and insulation, automobile repair, electrical work and more — would unknowingly have asbestos dust stuck to their clothes, skin or hair.

Their spouse, children or even parents could be exposed by hugging the worker, touching the same household objects or spending time close to each other.

While most industries no longer use asbestos, any repair or renovation jobs can put workers at risk. There’s still a chance of bringing “legacy asbestos” from buildings or vehicles into the home.

Unfortunately, due to asbestos’ miniature size, it’s nearly impossible to tell at the moment you’re exposed. The most crucial safety precaution to take is awareness.

We hope that knowing where asbestos may be present will encourage you to replace old appliances, hire professionals for renovation work, avoid using asbestos-laced talc products, and wear protective equipment in at-risk jobs.

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Show Author

    Devin Golden

    About the Writer, Devin Golden

    Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.