In older homes, many products may contain dangerous asbestos levels. For instance, some old linoleum was manufactured with paper backing that was rife with asbestos. Since the paper is quite friable, disturbing this old flooring can endanger workers and inhabitants.
Vermiculite was used to make items fire-resistant, particularly insulation. Any older structure or item that contains vermiculite should be considered laden with asbestos until proven to be safe.
Ceiling coatings, such as the infamous "popcorn" ceiling, should be considered to contain asbestos. As long as this substance is intact, residents should not be in danger from it, but if it crumbles into disrepair or workers try to remove it, the asbestos fibers are a danger for anyone in breathing distance.
Asbestos is often in the cement pipes found in individual homes and in a city's water supply system. Again, the asbestos becomes dangerous if the pipes begin to crumble, something that is inevitable when enough time has passed.
Other asbestos substances found in older homes include insulation on items like boilers and tanks, fireproofing applied in spray form on walls and ceilings, and drywall. Although modern construction uses much less asbestos, some common items still contain this dangerous substance.
Chrysotile was the most commonly used asbestos and was the most popular in developed countries of the world. This type of asbestos was mostly used for insulation products, fireproofing products, and U.S. Navy ships. It is the only asbestos that is still mined today.
This type of asbestos is brown in color, and it was once one of the most common forms of asbestos used in insulation in buildings and factories.
Tremolite is mostly made of magnesium and is common in deposits of vermiculite. Hundreds of miners who worked at the W.R. Grace Vermiculite Mine in Montana died from contamination of this toxic material.
This mineral once accounted for about four percent of asbestos used in the United States. It is blue in color, and due to its brittle nature, it easily breaks and releases sharp fibers that can be inhaled. It is probably the most dangerous of all asbestos, and it was used to make reinforcement materials for plastic as well as yarns and rope lagging.
The long, flexible fibers of this brown mineral create problems in the respiratory system for those who are exposed to it. It is a rare asbestos, so it was not used in as many consumer products. It was used mostly in insulation and cement.
This asbestos is also very rare, so it has not been used in many products. However, its makeup is so similar to that of other asbestos that it is known to be a carcinogen as well.