Asbestos and your baby

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can resist fire and heat. 

Asbestos was used to fireproof, soundproof and insulate homes, schools and other buildings during the 1940s through the 1970s. It also was used in floor tiles, roof shingles, car parts and other products. Some older homes still have asbestos in insulation used for pipes, stoves, walls and ceilings.

Even if asbestos is in your home, it’s usually not a serious problem. It’s only harmful to your health if it becomes damaged and crumbly, so that its fibers get into the air.

Breathing in high levels of asbestos over a long period of time can cause asbestos fibers to build up in your lungs. This can lead to serious health problems, like scarring in the lungs, lung cancer and a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma that affects the lining of the lungs or stomach.

What parts of your home may have asbestos?

Your home may have asbestos in:

  • Roof and siding shingles
  • Insulation in walls, ceilings and around hot water and steam pipes
  • Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring 
  • Textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceilings 
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves that are protected with asbestos paper, millboard or cement sheets
  • Oil and coal furnaces 
  • Artificial ashes and embers in gas fireplaces 

How can you keep your baby safe from asbestos in your home?

Here’s what you can do:

  • If you think you’re exposed to asbestos in your home, hire a professional inspector to check your home. Your local health department can give you a list of inspectors.
  • If your home contains asbestos that’s in good condition, it may be best to leave it alone. Your asbestos inspector can give you advice on what to do. If the asbestos must be removed, hire a licensed contractor to do the work. Don’t try to remove the asbestos yourself. Your local health department can give you a list of contractors to remove asbestos.
  • Don’t let your baby play near anything that may contain asbestos.
  • Don’t touch, remove, dust or sweep anything that may contain asbestos.
  • Don’t track dust that may contain asbestos through the house.

More information


Last reviewed: September, 2014

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that can resist fire and heat. 

Asbestos was used to fireproof, soundproof and insulate homes, schools and other buildings during the 1940s through the 1970s. It also was used in floor tiles, roof shingles, car parts and other products. Some older homes still have asbestos in insulation used for pipes, stoves, walls and ceilings.

Even if asbestos is in your home, it’s usually not a serious problem. It’s only harmful to your health if it becomes damaged and crumbly, so that its fibers get into the air.

Breathing in high levels of asbestos over a long period of time can cause asbestos fibers to build up in your lungs. This can lead to serious health problems, like scarring in the lungs, lung cancer and a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma that affects the lining of the lungs or stomach.

What parts of your home may have asbestos?

Your home may have asbestos in:

  • Roof and siding shingles
  • Insulation in walls, ceilings and around hot water and steam pipes
  • Vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring 
  • Textured paint and patching compounds used on wall and ceilings 
  • Walls and floors around wood-burning stoves that are protected with asbestos paper, millboard or cement sheets
  • Oil and coal furnaces 
  • Artificial ashes and embers in gas fireplaces 

How can you keep your baby safe from asbestos in your home?

Here’s what you can do:

  • If you think you’re exposed to asbestos in your home, hire a professional inspector to check your home. Your local health department can give you a list of inspectors.
  • If your home contains asbestos that’s in good condition, it may be best to leave it alone. Your asbestos inspector can give you advice on what to do. If the asbestos must be removed, hire a licensed contractor to do the work. Don’t try to remove the asbestos yourself. Your local health department can give you a list of contractors to remove asbestos.
  • Don’t let your baby play near anything that may contain asbestos.
  • Don’t touch, remove, dust or sweep anything that may contain asbestos.
  • Don’t track dust that may contain asbestos through the house.

More information


Last reviewed: September, 2014