Asbestos Blanket

Asbestos in Blankets and Other Safety Equipment

Asbestos blankets were used in a number of industrial and military settings. These blankets were often used for preventing fire injuries; for example, if someone caught on fire in an industrial or military accident, an asbestos blanket could be thrown over the victim to put out the flames and mitigate burn injuries.

Asbestos exposure resulted when these blankets became worn and the asbestos lining released fibers into the immediate environment. In addition, individuals who worked in the factories producing asbestos blankets would have been exposed to high levels of asbestos contamination in the weaving process, as well as from working on or cleaning the machinery used to make the blankets.

Three types of asbestos were used commercially in the United States during most of the 20th century. The most common form was chrysotile, or "white asbestos." Mined primarily in Montana and Vermont, this form of the mineral accounted for approximately 97% of all asbestos used in commercial applications. Chrysotile asbestos is still mined in Quebec, China and Russia and white asbestos products are still manufactured in China, India and Mexico. In 2002, approximately 100,000 kilograms of white asbestos entered the U.S. in commercial goods from these countries.

Asbestos Blanket Products Containing Asbestos

The following partial list of asbestos blanket products were known to contain asbestos:

Product Name Start Year End Year
Raymark Blankets 1929 1944
Rock Wool Asbestos Blanket
Unarco Fibrous Glass Insulating Blankets

Hazards Associated with Asbestos Blanket Products

While one-time exposure to an intact asbestos blanket used to put out a fire would not pose a significant risk of exposure to asbestos, individuals who worked in factories or installations where these blankets were used or stored may have potentially been exposed to a continual low-level amount of asbestos fibers and dust as the blankets were used or moved. In addition, workers who made the blankets or who disposed of old and worn blankets may have sustained had a higher level of exposure risk as well. Asbestos exposure has causal links to a serious form of cancer known as mesothelioma.

View Sources


Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Untold Story of Asbestos (New York: Touchstone, 2003)

N/A. "Asbestos Linked to Autoimmune Diseases." Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 113 (2004)

Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog


July 28, 2016

Asbestos in Older Homes

“Asbestos has been used for thousands of years in textiles and construction, due to its impressive resistance to heat, fire and moisture. Then, in the late 1800s, it became common to use asbestos in housing, as insulation, floor tiles, and other products. These practices continued into the 1980s, and such homes are still standing today. For those considering purchasing or renovating a house built before 1990, there is always the risk of asbestos in various parts of the home. Though usually innocuous if left undisturbed, when doing renovations it is important to know what to look for, and how to safely deal with any asbestos found in the process.”