Isn’t asbestos illegal?

Not at all! In fact, it is still perfectly legal in the United States to purchase asbestos, and to manufacture products  using asbestos. Although most companies have discontinued its use due to health concerns, many products which contain asbestos can still be found in stores today, including floor tile, brake pads, and other building materials.

OK, but didn’t they get rid of all of the asbestos when they found out it was bad?

Unfortunately, no. Asbestos really is a miracle mineral. It is fireproof, heatproof, chemical proof, waterproof, flexible, and extremely strong! As such, it was added to virtually every building material before its negative health effects became widespread knowledge in the late 1970s.

As a rule of thumb, any material that is not wood or metal is suspect as an asbestos-containing material (ACM). And removing it safely can be expensive. So, any structure built before 1980 or so is likely still loaded with asbestos– including your house! But don’t worry — most asbestos materials are harmless unless they are not handled properly and are disturbed or turned into dust.

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