New York City homebuyer's guide -
Because it is fire retardant and an excellent insulator, asbestos was
widely used in the construction of homes until the 1970s and early 1980s.
Heating pipes and duct insulation, floor tiles, siding, ceiling tiles
and even plaster may contain asbestos. Asbestos becomes harmful when
it is disturbed and tiny particles become airborne. When inhaled asbestos
particles can damage lung tissue and cause severe health problems (such
as lung cancer).