You may have heard that asbestos was used in insulation, but it is not just standard home insulation you need to worry about. Asbestos was often used in pipe insulation, often for water pipes or heating pipes. It retains heat very effectively and is fire-resistant, so it worked quite well in that capacity.
Of course, it still posed a serious health risk. When asbestos particles from the insulation get into the air, which is especially a risk during removal, they can be inhaled. This can lead to fatal types of cancer, often years or decades later.
So, what does this asbestos pipe insulation look like?
Typically, it is a white-gray material that people often compare to corrugated paper. It was wrapped around the pipes after they were installed. However, asbestos was also used as a paste or a plaster, which was sometimes used on valves, elbows and other parts of the piping that could not easily be wrapped.
In many cases, the wrapped insulation appears to have multiple layers, with something of a honeycomb design.
It is important to note that fiberglass insulation may appear similar, but it is safe. It also wraps pipes and may have a white outer layer made of paper, but the inside is made from traditional pink fiberglass. This can lead to confusion, as people may believe they're working with newer fiberglass when it is actually asbestos.
Asbestos is now illegal in the vast majority of applications where it used to be so common. Those who are suffering from cancer and other related diseases due to exposure need to know all of their potential rights to financial compensation.
Source: Inspectapedia, "Photo Guide to Asbestos Pipe Insulation in buildings," accessed April 20, 2018