While not all regions of the United States struggle through aggressive, violent weather change, everyone must be aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure that might be related to the changing seasons. From burst pipes to water leaks damaging attic insulation, residents across the country should stay mindful of the problems that might crop up due to inclement weather.

The biggest challenges that both homeowners and renters face center on pipes bursting. When it gets cold enough, standing water in pipes freezes. This ice expands and cracks the pipes resulting in leaks and other damage – both cosmetic and structural. The main problem lies in the fact that many pipes were manufactured and installed into homes, apartment complexes, schools, retail businesses and commercial buildings prior to 1980. Unfortunately, asbestos fibers were likely used in the construction materials.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral substance whose fibers are soft and flexible yet resistant to heat, electricity and chemical corrosion. Pure asbestos is an effective insulator and many fabrication plants mixed asbestos fibers with other materials such as cloth, paper, cement and plastic to take advantage of the heat resistant qualities.

Unfortunately, when asbestos fibers are inhaled, numerous devastating conditions can arise including asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Many structures built prior to 1980 utilized asbestos fibers in water pipes, tiles and insulation. A burst pipe can eject microscopic fibers into the air, causing residents to inhale or ingest the deadly material. Even in a region that doesn’t struggle with frozen water pipes might see water damage and asbestos exposure. Any building renovation or structural emergency can lead to toxic exposure. From damaged floor tiles to crumbling insulation, homeowners and renters alike should be aware of the possibility of asbestos exposure.