Manufactured homes made after 1980 do not contain asbestos. Inhaling or ingesting asbestos is a huge risk and danger to health. Therefore be careful when buying older homes that may still have asbestos in ordinary building elements such as your ceiling, roof and insulation.
What’s Wrong with Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occuring substance in our earth. Its hair-like fibers, great thermal insulation and fire resistive properties have made them great tools for people. In the industrial era it boomed as a construction material in ceiling tiles, roofing and insulation. (1)
Later on in the 20th century, it was found that asbestos particles when inhaled or ingested could create great health damage and risk. This led to several countries and states banning asbestos in any building material in the 1970’s. (1, 2)
In 1970, the United States put up agencies like the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to regulate the use and exposure of people to asbestos and other toxic substances (1)
In 1977 asbestos was banned completely for new construction.
Especially when asbestos turns “friable” is when it is dangerous. This means it has turned brittle and crumbles so that it can easily be inhaled. Once these fibers are in the body, they can cause great harm in diseases like mesothelioma asbestosis and lung cancer. (1)
Where Can You Still Find Asbestos in Homes?
Asbestos was typically used in these parts of the home: (1)
- Ceiling tiles
- Vinyl tile floors
- Basement boilers and pipes
- HVAC duct insulation
- Roof shingles
- Blown-in attic insulation
If you do come across an older home (or a mobile home, made before the HUD Code was released), be cautious that you may still have old parts (especially ceilings) made with asbestos fiber. Homes made in 1930 to 1950 could have asbestos as insulation, or textured paints and patching sealants for covering up seams. The best thing to do is reach a certified asbestos testing laboratory to have your home checked. They may ask you to send in samples or conduct the test in your home. (2, 3)
Trailers were still making use of asbestos in insulation until its ban in 1987. This is due to asbestos’ nature of having great heat resistance, which trailers will need to thermally regulate for indoor comfort. (4)
Because the banning of asbestos was not universal (or nationwide in the case of the United States), homes built after 1980 are the least likely to have any asbestos.
For manufactured homes, it’s always best to buy the latest models, because they are continually updating them to quality standards. Those after 1976 are compliant with building codes. However, after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the structural framing was made more stringent. Who knows what other discoveries and natural calamities have caused the HUD Code to add and revise? Might as well buy the latest models that will also take into account energy efficiency.
It is recommended you hire professionals to rid of the asbestos in your home as this can still be highly dangerous. Obtaining a sample must also be done with great care as one may release particles or fibers in the air. However should you resort to doing it yourself, ensure the following: (from What To Do About Asbestos In Old Mobile Homes Made Before 1970 (1)
- Warn everyone to stay away until after the cleanup. And take away any pets or children.
- Cover up and wear PPE (Personal Protection Equipment).
- Do not eat, drink, or smoke in the work area
- Wash your hands and face and any other exposed body parts with soap and water.
- Don’t use any power tools.
- Wet the asbestos gently with water but do not water blast it or scrub it with a stiff broom or brush.
- Seal off the work area with plastic sheets. And cover the walls, floor, and any furniture.
- Don’t cut, drill, or drop asbestos products.
- Take the proper precautions when disposing of the sheets, including taking them to a specialized landfill site and wrapping and sealing them with plastic.
If you’re in a renovated manufactured home, find out if your old mobile home still has some asbestos. Check out tips for finding asbestos here How to Find Out if Your Mobile Home Ceiling Has Asbestos (sfgate.com)
What’s certain is that to make absolutely sure you have an asbestos free home!
- bryceadmin. (2019, November 18). What to do about asbestos in old mobile homes made before 1970. US Mobile Home Pros. Retrieved July 2022, from https://www.mobilehomesell.com/asbestos-in-old-mobile-homes/
- Malesky, M. (2020, November 17). How to find out if your mobile home ceiling has asbestos. Home Guides | SF Gate. Retrieved July 2022, from https://homeguides.sfgate.com/out-mobile-home-ceiling-asbestos-57475.html
- NCERT Point Team. (2022, January 15). When did they stop using asbestos in manufactured homes? – ncert point. NCERT POINT – Get Latest Celebrities Biography. Retrieved July 2022, from https://www.ncertpoint.com/2022/01/when-did-they-stop-using-asbestos-in-manufactured-homes.html
- Arshpreet. (2022, May 29). How do I know if my mobile home has asbestos? News Share. Retrieved July 2022, from https://www.newsshare.in/how-do-i-know-if-my-mobile-home-has-asbestos-117486.html