Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm concerned that the insulation/ cardboard foil that's behind my recessed radiator is asbestos. My house was built in 1960. Does anyone know if they made that stuff with asbestos? Before purchasing my home I had the insulation checked in the attic and also in the old boiler. I was glad to find out that there was no asbestos.

share|improve this question
As long as the asbestos is contained, there isn't much of a danger. Only when it's exposed to the air and likely to be disturbed and create dust do you need to worry. So if you are planning construction you would want to get it tested. But if you won't touch it ever, don't worry. –  longneck Jul 27 at 15:22
@longneck To echo and expand on your comment, IF the foil facing is intact, and there is no sign of friable material that could be spread by the radiator's natural convection. –  bib Jul 27 at 20:23

1 Answer 1

If it was my house I would not worry about it if it was intact (but I would not disturb it either), significant friable spread by convection alone seems unlikely. If I had kids... better safe than sorry, hire an asbestos abatement firm to test and remove/replace if necessary.

OSHA PEL (Personal Exposure Limit, max exposure over 8 hours on a time weighted average) is 0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter, max exposure over any 30 min. period is 1 fiber/cm³.

share|improve this answer
That's really the OSHA PEL for asbestos? It's silly. After 50 years of exposure at 0.1 fiber/cm³, your lungs would look like a gunny sack. –  TDHofstetter Aug 26 at 23:58
That's 1/10th (0.1) of a 5 micrometer (micrometer = 1/1000th of a millimeter, or .000039 inches) long fiber per cubic centimeter. But you are right, long term occupational exposure is where the real trouble lies. –  Jimmy Fix-it Aug 27 at 1:19
Given that the average person's tidal volume is about 500ml, and we breathe on average about 16 times per minute, that's 8 liters per minute over 50 years comes to roughly 210,240,000 liters (2.1024e+11 cm³) total... yep, over the course of a lifetime, that could represent a huge quantity of asbestos. –  TDHofstetter Aug 27 at 1:58

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.