CHICAGO -- Although many collectors and dealers may perish the thought, or pooh-pooh the theory that certain antiques or collectibles are thought to be unsafe, others take such matters very seriously and want to avoid any danger or mishaps that could result from the use of such items.
Take asbestos, for instance, and whether it should be removed, encapsulated, ignored or further explored by testing certain material found in some antique or old heating devices such as some steel ranges and over-the-burner stove-top ovens that were sometimes insulated with asbestos to conserve heat and fuel.
In the past, some asbestos stove linings, or stove-top linings, were combined with other fireproof materials.
According to Michael Fleck, of Environzone Inc., a testing facility in Crystal Lake, Ill., one cannot tell merely by looking at material whether it contains asbestos. Only a laboratory test can tell the story. However, he strongly warns, such material found in any old stove or any other antique that could be made with asbestos parts should not be handled, taken apart, sealed or repaired except by a professional.