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Delaware Healthy Homes

Inside Healthy Homes - Asbestos
What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was once used in construction materials as an insulation and a fire retardant. It has not been used in new applications since the early 1980s, so it's most often found in older homes and buildings. You may find asbestos in:

  • Pipe and furnace insulation
  • Shingles, siding and roofing
  • Millboard, resilient floor tiles and tile adhesives
  • Backing on vinyl sheet flooring
  • Soundproofing and decorative materials
  • Patching and joint compound
  • Fireproof gloves and stove-top pads
  • Automobile brake pads and linings.
How is it dangerous?

Asbestos is only a health hazard if its fibers become airborne and are inhaled. This happens when asbestos-containing materials are broken up during removal or renovation or just through regular use, such as in the case of floor tile.

Once inhaled, asbestos fibers can lodge and accumulate in the lungs. Health problems include lung scarring and cancer of the lungs, esophagus, stomach, intestines and rectum. Symptoms may not appear for many years.

What you can do...

If you live in a home or work in a business built prior to the late 1980's, find out whether asbestos is present before starting any remodeling. If you suspect asbestos is present, contact an asbestos professional to provide information and advice on sampling, removal and handling of any asbestos containing building materials.

Exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of lung cancer.

For information
on projects involving
asbestos in Delaware
please contact

DNREC's Air and Waste
Management Section



[ Request Additional
Information - Text Version


Asbestos Page


Centers for
Disease Control
and Prevention
Asbestos Page


National Cancer Institute
Asbestos Q&A

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