Rosie at home: Beware of asbestos and lead when renovating | Home + Life + Health
Homes built before 1978 that have popcorn ceilings may contain asbestos. Materials containing asbestos can release fibers when moved, damaged, improperly removed, repaired, cut, torn, sanded, sawed, drilled or scraped. If you are determined to remove a popcorn ceiling or peeling paint yourself, which I strongly advise against, contact the EPA for a list of protective measures.
Q: What should I do if I think my house contains asbestos?
A: The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality says if you suspect asbestos may be in your home, don’t panic. Usually, the best thing to do is to LEAVE undamaged asbestos materials ALONE. Generally, a material in good condition does not release asbestos fibers. There is no danger unless fibers are released and inhaled into the lungs.
Check equipment regularly if you suspect it may contain asbestos. Don’t touch it, but look for signs of wear or damage such as tears, abrasions, or water damage. Damaged materials can release asbestos fibers. This is especially true if you frequently disturb it by hitting, rubbing or handling it, or if it is exposed to extreme vibration or airflow.
Sometimes the best way to deal with slightly damaged hardware is to limit access to the area and not touch or disturb it. Dispose of damaged or worn asbestos gloves, stove pads, or ironing board covers according to local and federal laws. Check with local health, environmental or other relevant authorities for proper handling and disposal procedures.