Toxins in the Home: What First-Time Homebuyers Should Know

The home buying process can be confusing and overwhelming for first-time buyers, especially when faced with the large amount of necessary steps to take before you put in an offer.

One of those steps you should never skip or rush through is a home inspection. Home inspections not only look for structural damage, but they can be your first indication of a presence of toxic materials.

Older homes in particular may have been constructed with asbestos of lead, which can certainly be toxic. These materials were once widely used in residential structures, and they can still be lingering in a home.

Here’s what you need to know about asbestos, lead, and keeping harmful toxins out of your new home.


Asbestos was used to build older homes due to its resistance to heat and fire; however, it was discovered that exposure to asbestos could lead to serious health problems like mesothelioma.

Despite these issues, asbestos is still not completely banned in the U.S., and microscopic fibers of asbestos can still be lingering in older homes or parts that were installed prior to asbestos regulations.

Asbestos fibers are invisible to the naked eye, but, according to the EPA, the most common areas this substance can be hiding in your home include:

  • The attic
  • Within wall insulation
  • Walls or floors around wood stoves
  • Hot water or steam pipes
  • Certain roofing or siding shingles


Lead, like asbestos, used to be used widely in building and industrial products. In fact, until 1978, lead paint was commonly used on both the interior and exterior of homes. That deteriorating lead paint on older homes remains the most common way people are exposed to dangerous lead.

No amount of lead is safe, and it can lead to numerous health complications, especially for children. Individuals who are exposed to lead can experience hearing problems, cognitive deficiencies, and even behavioral problems.

According to the EPA, lead is most commonly found on:

  • Windows or window sills
  • Stairs, porches, or banisters
  • Doors and door frames
  • Indoor piping

Dealing with toxic materials in the home may seem daunting, but professionals are available to properly deal with such materials and ensure safety for you and your family.

If homeownership is one of your goals, CNE is a one-stop shop to help you get there. We provide homeownership counseling as well as loan packages to help you make the housing decision that is best for you. Contact us today to learn more at 423.756.6201 or