Some Things are buried for a Reason – Dangerous Finds Vol. 1 Asbestos

Some Things are buried for a Reason – Dangerous Finds Vol. 1 Asbestos

Hi Guys, in this first part of a multi-part series about the bad things you may find, i want share some of the less pleasant finds with you.  Basically, this is a short list of things that you may come across as a detectorist and Treasure Hunter and that you should know about.  Don´t forget: Some things are buried for a reason! Metal Detecting and Asbestos does not go along.  If you see anything that looks dodgy, pack in your Metal Detector and go somewhere else.

1. Asbestos

Asbestos2USGOV

In my Opinion, the most unpleasant things to find is Asbestos! In the past 60 years or so, Asbestos was used in a large number of Items. When I was a child, Asbestos was everywhere. On the roofs, in the homes, in public buildings and everyday-life products. Thank god those times are over now, but because Asbestos does not really degrade over time, it´s still out there. In my direct neighborhood, I seen  people just ripping it off the roof and throwing it in the trash. And because Asbestos removal is extremely expensive, some people just loaded it on their truck, drove in the forest and left it there in the middle of the night. It´s extremely fucked up, but that kind of thing happened countless times in the last 50 years. The moment people realized how dangerous and cancerogen Asbestos can be, they wanted to get rid of it. It can be found on old dump sites, which sometimes are of interest for Detectorists due to the interesting finds they can make there. In Europe, it is also very common around old bunkers and Wehrmacht sites. I have seen countless old Wehrmacht trenches filled up with old Asbestos roof plates.

Asbestos is known to cause a very particular type of cancer called Mesothelioma. It is so dangerous because it breaks up into tiny fibers that tend to get airborne and which can be breathed into the lungs, where they stay for 20-30 years until they cause this typical Asbestos cancer.
So yeah, long story short: AVOID ASBESTOS LIKE THE PLAGUE! Especially when you are digging around, scratching stones and bricks with your shovel. Have a look at the large list of items that are known to contain Asbestos and leave everything on the field that looks remotely like it. Numerous times I came across people who were selling broken Asbestos pieces as “antique / ancient shards and when it´s about stuff like this, ignorance has absolutely no limits. There are some certain crop fields where Asbestos shards were dumped and if you come across one of those sites, go somewhere else. It isn´t worth ruining your health over a few old rusty coins. In Europe, it´s been extremely common that farmers threw old building rubble onto the fields. And that´s just an example and Asbestos can be found in plenty of other products too.

Here is a short list of items that may include it. The list is not nearly complete:

  • -Asbestos Roofing Panels! This is really important and you should really take a look at them to know how they look. I heard of numerous Treasure Hunters that found them and took Asbestos products with them at home because they suspected the shards to be some kind of ancient pottery. If it´s gray, leave it out there.

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  • Also, Asbestos is also contained in a vast variety of roofing panels and bricks and you should be really careful about taking anything of that kind at home. Asbestos usually has a gray color and personally, I avoid EVERYTHING with that color! But there are a lot of roofing or house panels that have a different color too.
  • Old lighters from 1940-1980! This also is a very important point because it´s common to find old lighters that have a small piece of Asbestos as fire protection. Some of them contain a layer of asbestos as insulation and it´s usually degraded when you find it. I had one of them a few years ago, but luckily realized it instantly. Personally, I NEVER take old lighters with me, even though most of them don’t contain asbestos. But how would you know, right?
  • Torches. Even modern fire torches from China sometimes contain a small ring of asbestos as insulation. It´s relatively common to have Asbestos in some Chinese products. I don´t know why it is so common there, but every product that has fire protection layers inside should be handled with care.
  • – Toothpaste. This isn´t a thing anymore but was produced by a handful of manufacturers.
  • – Filters. All kinds of filters. Even cigarette filters had some asbestos in them.
  • Postbags
  • Piping and everything that comes with insulation.
  • Junction Boxes

Asbest

  • Car brakes and brake lining. Some Oldtimers still have it but luckily it´s not very common.
  • In Old Radios, hair driers, TV´s, ovens, flat irons, coolers, brake pads, electronic grills, lamps, etc
  • gas mask filters, pre 1960s and WW2!
  • vinyl floor tiles. It´s also very common among those and every time you rip out old tiles, be careful and keep it in mind. This also applies if you come across some on a field or a trash site.
  • – Shoes

And so on. The list is really endless, but I guess you get the idea!

I can’t stress this enough…If you are a detectorist, you should always know how Asbestos looks like when you come across it on the field. Better safe than sorry. If you come across a trash site where Asbestos shards can be seen somewhere, dig with extreme care.