In one form or another, asbestos has been used in home construction for almost 100 years. If your home is more than 30 years old or so, you could be at risk. The two most common forms are cement asbestos, used in siding, and asbestos insulation, used to insulate heating pipes.
Identifying Asbestos in the Home
The risk of asbestos exposure is based on how friable it is (how easily it gets deteriorated). If the asbestos can be easily released to the air, then there is a substantial risk of exposure in your home. This would be the case, for example, with heating pipe insulation made of asbestos.
On the other hand, the risk of exposure from cement asbestos (such as siding), in which the asbestos is contained within a cement binder, is very low. If you suspect you have asbestos in your home, it is best to get it tested by an independent lab to confirm it’s asbestos content. If presence of asbestos is confirmed and the material is friable, then removal by a trained professional is recommended.
Under no circumstances should you try and remove asbestos yourself. Doing so could easily contaminate the entire home.