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fraying asbestos tape - how worried should I be?


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[Full disclosure. I'm not a home inspector, just a homeowner looking for informed advice. I hope this is okay.]

We're having some duct work done at our house and eventually this lead to an asbestos inspection and the discovery that we probably have asbestos tape inside the return air duct of our heater / AC system. As you can see from these pictures (http://imgur.com/a/7vX09#m5WZ8), some of this tape is in pretty bad shape and fraying badly. Making matters worse, whoever installed this did a pretty poor job and the air filter doesn't fit securely over the intake, so I don't think we can even assume that the filter would be super effective (there's a visible gap in pictures 2--4). We intend to have this removed ASAP but we've already lived in this house for a year and a half with our now 2 year-old babies, and the thought of what we might all have been exposed to is terrifying.

Does anyone have any insights into how worried we should be about this? On the one hand, I know this stuff was used widely for a long time, but on the other hand things I read suggest there's no known safe level of exposure. I'm sure it doesn't help that a lot of the information out there is from lawyers soliciting mesothelioma patients. Is there any point in getting our home air tested besides the possible peace of mind if it turns out that nothing is detectable? Any insights or wisdom are appreciated.

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Don't worry about the air filter. The asbesto fibers are small enough to sail right through it anyway.

Hire an asbestos abatement contractor to remove the asbestos properly. Then forget about it and enjoy your life and your kids.

If the thought of past asbestos exposure from this little bit of tape is keeping you awake at night, then go live in Somalia for a year to adjust your perspective on life.

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