Where Can Asbestos Be Found?

Asbestos is commonly used as an acoustic insulator, thermal insulation, fire proofing and in other building materials. Asbestos fibers are incredibly strong and have properties that make them resistant to heat. There are products still in use today that contain asbestos. Most of these are materials used in heat and acoustic insulation, fire proofing, and roofing and flooring.

Figure 164: Some of the more common products that may contain Asbestos

Acoustical Plaster


Asphalt Floor Tile

Base Flashing

Blown-in Insulation

Boiler Insulation

Breaching Insulation


Ceiling Tiles and Lay-in Panels

Cement Pipes

Cement Siding

Cement Wallboard


Construction Mastics (floor tile, carpet, ceiling tile, etc.)

Cooling Towers

Decorative Plaster

Ductwork Flexible Fabric Connections

Electric Wiring Insulation

Electrical Cloth

Electrical Panel Partitions

Elevator Brake Shoes

Elevator Equipment Panels

Fire Blankets

Fire Curtains

Fire Doors

Fireproofing Materials

Flooring Backing

Heating and Electrical Ducts

High Temperature Gaskets

HVAC Duct Insulation

Joint Compounds

Laboratory Gloves

Laboratory Hoods/Table Tops

Packing Materials (for wall/floor penetrations)

Pipe Insulation (corrugated air-cell, block, etc.)

Roofing Felt

Roofing Shingles

Spackling Compounds

Spray-Applied Insulation

Taping Compounds (thermal)

Textured Paints/Coatings

Thermal Paper Products

Vinyl Floor Tile

Vinyl Sheet Flooring

Vinyl Wall Coverings



Those products made today which still contain asbestos that could be inhaled are required to be labeled as such. However, until the 1970s, many types of building products and insulation materials used in homes contained asbestos. Here's some more detail about common products that might have contained asbestos in the past, and conditions which may release fibers, include:

  • Steam Pipes, Boilers, and Furnace Ducts insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. These materials may release asbestos fibers if damaged, repaired, or removed improperly.

  • Resilient Floor Tiles (vinyl asbestos, asphalt, and rubber), the backing on Vinyl Sheet Flooring and Adhesives used for installing floor tile. Sanding tiles can release fibers. So may scraping or sanding the backing of sheet flooring during removal.

  • Cement Sheet, Millboard, and Paper used as insulation around furnaces and wood burning stoves. Repairing or removing appliances may release asbestos fibers. So may cutting, tearing, sanding, drilling, or sawing insulation.

  • Door Gaskets in furnaces, wood stoves, and coal stoves. Worn seals can release asbestos fibers during use.

  • Soundproofing or Decorative Material sprayed on walls and ceilings. Loose, crumbly, or water-damaged material may release fibers. So will sanding, drilling, or scraping the material.

  • Patching and Joint Compounds for walls and ceilings, and Textured Paints. Sanding, scraping, or drilling these surfaces may release asbestos.

  • Asbestos Cement Roofing, Shingles, and Siding. These products are not likely to release asbestos fibers unless sawed, dilled, or cut.

  • Artificial Ashes and Embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces. Also, other older household products such as Fireproof Gloves, Stove-Top Pads, Ironing Board Covers, and certain Hairdryers.

  • Automobile Brake Pads and Linings, Clutch Facings and Gaskets.

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