Friable insulation (deteriorated insulation that can produce dust that can be breathed in) can cause health issues and cancer, and is sometimes found when you look at an old home (see picture).
These pipes can be stripped of insulation, but it must be done professionally. Homeowners are NOT supposed to be removing this stuff themselves.
Insulation is found in many forms in an old home, and floor tiles, ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, furnace cement, and many other things contained asbestos in the old days. Be careful if and when you encounter these things.
I find chemicals, paints and other noxious stuff that should be removed, and I tell buyers who hire me to insist it be removed BEFORE closing.
Ray Wilson of Meticulous Home Inspection can be reached at 631-902-6761 if any questions arise regarding this blog, and please check out: www.meticuloushomeinspection.com