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Delaware Healthy Homes

Healthy Homes Renovations - 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. Asbestos is a concern when working on older homes as it can be found in various building components including siding, tile and insulation.

Before beginning to work on potentially asbestos containing building materials, it may be necessary to consult a professional to ensure that you do not create conditions that are hazardous to the environment or your health. Sampling and laboratory analysis may be necessary to determine if a particular material contains asbestos.

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...
  • Consult a professional before beginning work on potentially asbestos containing building materials.
  • Make sure that any asbestos containing materials are in good shape and are not disturbed.
  • Leave removal and disposal of asbestos containing building materials to professionals.



For information on
projects involving
asbestos in Delaware
please contact

DNREC's Division of Air Quality


Asbestos Page


Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention
Asbestos Page


National Cancer Institute
Asbestos Q&A

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