Asbestos in Popcorn Poppers and Other Household Appliances
Popcorn poppers are just one of many ordinary household appliances that contained asbestos materials – and some of those imported from overseas may still contain these materials.
Also known as popcorn machines and popcorn makers, these appliances trace their origins back to the 1880s, but it was not until 90 years later that home versions were made available. These devices operated, as they do today, with air heated by an electrical element. This is where asbestos insulation was likely to be located. Asbestos insulation may also have been used to insulate the power cord.
As time passed the public became more aware of the dangers posed by asbestos in consumer and building products, and public pressure led to effective bans on the use of asbestos in these products in the United States. However, there are still countries where asbestos-containing materials are used in the production of consumer products, and imported consumer products may be contaminated with this dangerous substance.
Hazards Associated with Popcorn Poppers
Under normal circumstances, the asbestos materials inside a popcorn popper did not present a significant hazard to the end user. However, they would frequently need to be brought to repair shops. It was the workers in these small appliance repair shops that were most at risk for asbestos exposure. In addition, the workers in plants manufacturing these appliances were also likely to have been exposed to asbestos as they fabricated and installed the electrical components of the popcorn poppers.
Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Untold Story of Asbestos (New York: Touchstone, 2003)