What is this weird stuff all over my basement ceiling? : HomeImprovement

I live in Philadelphia and moved into a home built in the 1920s. There is some white stuff all over my basement ceiling including on the joists, metal pipes, wires, and return vent, to varying degrees of thickness. The house itself is built of brick and the walls of the basement have both brick and concrete, if that helps.

Here are some photos:





I wanted to have the white stuff on the ceiling tested, but I don’t even know where to start short of bringing in one person to test for mold, then another for asbestos, then I’m not even sure what else. Has anyone else seen this in their home / have an idea of what it might be? Many thanks for any help and advice.

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