How to Tell if an Apartment Has Asbestos?

We are all well aware of the concerns asbestos poses to our health, but could you identify asbestos if it were present in your home?

Since asbestos fibers cannot be seen with the naked eye, it can be challenging to determine if a product contains asbestos or not.

But, before identifying asbestos, you must first know what to check for in the items that potentially contain it around your apartment.

So, with that in mind, here are a few ways to identify the presence in your apartment.

Hire Professional Asbestos Testing Services

The benefits of asbestos testing for apartment occupants are many. It enables you to identify materials in your apartment that contain asbestos.

In fact, you will never know the extent of contamination without asbestos testing. After all, asbestos cannot be detected by visual inspection alone.

Therefore, professional asbestos testing services will help you identify and locate asbestos-containing materials.

That said, a thorough visual inspection, careful sample collection, and rigorous analysis are all necessary for an accurate assessment.

If asbestos is discovered, the inspector will provide a written report outlining its presence, the degree of the harm, and suggestions for safe removal.

In fact, even after removal, the inspector might conduct inspections to ensure the affected material has been removed properly.

Look for Signs of Water Damage, Abrasions, and Tears

If you think that a particular area of your apartment contains asbestos, check for signs of water damage, abrasions, and tears.

If you spot these signs, you should avoid touching or disturbing the affected material. In fact, you should restrict access to the area until the material in question is completely removed.

However, instead of taking on the removal project yourself, hire professional asbestos abatement services to take care of the job for you.

Asbestos is highly dangerous and can lead to various severe diseases like mesothelioma if exposed for a long time.

Look for White, Blue, or Brown Spots

The most commonly used asbestos is chrysotile. Buildings were originally constructed using chrysotile-containing materials, which can be found in roofs, ceilings, walls, and flooring.

Additionally, this type of asbestos was frequently used in appliance insulation, ducting, pipes, boiler seals, and gaskets. Chrysotile has a layered appearance, is white, and has curled fibers.

The second most prevalent form of asbestos in the United States is amosite, which is more carcinogenic than other forms.

This brown asbestos was extensively utilized in insulation boards, thermal insulation, cement sheets, ceiling tiles, and pipe insulation.

The third and most dangerous kind of asbestos, crocidolite, was frequently used to insulate steam engines.

However, it can also be found in cement products,spray-on coatings, and pipe insulation. Its fibers are small and blue, making them easy to spot.

So, if you live in an old apartment building and can identify blue, brown, or white spots inside your flat, it is highly likely that asbestos is present.

Check for Labels Identifying the Presence of Asbestos

Identifying asbestos-containing products at home can be challenging without asbestos testing. However, packaging may make it possible to recognize items that contain asbestos.

Apartment owners can carefully check containers of discarded building supplies for labels indicating the presence of asbestos.

For instance, asbestos labels can be on the back of spare boxes of vinyl floor tiles.

Furthermore, the packaging’s date may also prove that they were created at the height of asbestos use. This ranges from the 1930s to the 1980s.

However, if the construction material doesn’t come in a box, it’s best to assume that construction materials manufactured before the 1980s contain asbestos.

While visual clues such as labels and stamps will help you identify asbestos-containing materials, it is not a fool-proof technique. Still, it’s a good place to start.

Health Hazards Associated With Asbestos Exposure

Listed below are a few health issues that one can face after constantly being exposed to asbestos:

Pleural Effects

Various disorders in the pleura (lining of the chest cavity) can result from absorbing or inhaling asbestos particles.

These include pleural plaques, round atelectasis, pleural effusion, and thickening. Pleural plaques also develop twenty to thirty years after asbestos exposure.

However, pleural effusions, or fluid accumulation between the lung membranes, often appear within or after ten years of exposure.

So, if you’re still living in an apartment with asbestos, it would be wise to get it professionally removed ASAP. Or, better yet, look for a new apartment.

Lung Cancer

Numerous variables affect the likelihood that asbestos exposure will result in lung cancer. These are:

  • Your age
  • The type and size of asbestos particles inhaled
  • The length of exposure
  • Your history of lung disease, if any
  • The level of exposure

The latency period for developing lung cancer from asbestos exposure is around 15-20 years.

While exposure to asbestos for a prolonged time is what causes lung cancer, research suggests that short-term exposure—between 2-8 months—can also result in lung cancer.

Furthermore, asbestos-related lung cancer symptoms typically emerge during the last stages of the disease. These include persistent cough, sudden weight loss, fever, chest pain, etc.

However, other asbestos-related illnesses, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma, share the same symptoms.

So, to confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may order more testing, such as biopsies and X-rays.


Pulmonary fibrosis, commonly known as asbestosis, is a chronic lung condition that causes tissue to grow on the lungs that resemble scar tissue.

Due to this, your lungs’ elasticity decreases, making breathing difficult. Breathing difficulties are frequently a sign of asbestosis.

Furthermore, crackle sounds or rales are audible near the conclusion of complete inspiration when your doctor listens to your breathing using a stethoscope.

If you have asbestosis, your chest X-ray will reveal little patches in the middle and section of your lungs. To assess the severity of the asbestosis, your doctor will also order lung function tests.

Symptoms typically include bluish skin tone, finger clubbing, decreased lung function, chest pain, a harsh cough, and shortness of breath.

However, asbestosis typically takes years of asbestos exposure to manifest. So, if you’ve recently moved into an asbestos-containing apartment, now is the time to remove it ASAP.


In most asbestos exposure scenarios, mesothelioma is relatively uncommon. But you cannot rule it out completely.

There are typically three different forms of mesotheliomas: pleural (lungs), peritoneal (abdominal), and pericardial (heart) mesothelioma.

Such an asbestos-related disease often has a latency period of 25 to 35 years. But the worst thing about this disease is that symptoms only start to appear when it’s too late for treatment.

Numerous studies have shown that exposure duration affects the risk of mesothelioma development, with risks rising sharply over time.

Some medical professionals believe the severity of exposure typically influences a patient’s chance of survival.

Typical symptoms of mesothelioma include a dry cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and shoulder pain.

On the other hand, sudden weight loss, weakness, and high-grade fever could potentially occur as the mesothelioma advances to vital organs.

How to Remain Safe Around Asbestos

Here are a few ways that help you live safely in an asbestos-containing apartment:

Utilize Heps Filters

For people who want to know if HEPA filters work when it comes to asbestos: They do! Most airborne dust particles, including asbestos particles, can be removed by HEPA filters.

They can efficiently filter out these particles from the air because their size ranges from seven to nine microns.

In fact, certain filter types are frequently used in workplaces and homes solely for removing asbestos.

But, to provide optimum coverage and effectiveness, air filters must be used in numerous areas around your home.

Never Touch or Disturb Asbestos-Containing Materials

Whether you live in an apartment or a two-story house, avoid disturbing or touching any materials that could contain asbestos.

It’s especially the case if you want to perform DIY apartment remodels. During your remodel, chances are you will encounter asbestos in drywall, ceiling insulation, pipes, etc.

So, if you know for a fact that your apartment contains asbestos, it’s better to leave the remodel to the professionals.

Don’t Eat Near Asbestos-Containing Areas

If you know that your apartment contains asbestos, ensure you avoid eating in that particular asbestos-containing area.

Because they are invisible to the naked eye, asbestos particles might attach themselves to your food.

And if you constantly eat asbestos-containing food, your chances of contracting peritoneal mesothelioma will increase tenfold.

So, when enjoying your favorite snack or beverage, ensure you’re remaining ten feet away from sources of asbestos.

However, if the area in question is your apartment kitchen, it’s a no-brainer to contact professional asbestos abatement services ASAP.

Hire Professional Asbestos Abatement Services

Asbestos removal is something that shouldn’t be done on your own. After all, this is where DIYing it just to save some money will do you more harm than good.

It would therefore be ideal if you used expert removal services to get rid of this mineral. In fact, these professionals are aware of the detrimental effects it has on a person’s health and well-being.

Furthermore, they use professional safety equipment and adhere to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations to guarantee efficient removal.

So, don’t hesitate and contact your local asbestos abatement service today. It will allow you and your family to breathe asbestos-free air inside your apartment.

Wrapping Up

As it ages, asbestos becomes brittle and starts crumbling. Materials in this condition pose a health risk since even a small amount of handling error can cause asbestos fibers to spread into the air.

Therefore, you should remove them immediately to ensure you and your family are as safe and secure as possible.

However, a qualified abatement company should be hired to remove asbestos rather than doing it yourself.

After all, this will reduce your risk of asbestos exposure, decreasing your likelihood of developing various asbestos-related illnesses.

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