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Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used in a wide variety of materials for its resistance to chemicals, heat and fire, strength, durability and flexibility. Many asbestos goods were manufactured years ago, before its dangers were well-known, but are still in use today. 

Many countries have banned asbestos use, though it is still allowed in certain quantities in the United States. Common methods of exposure include household exposure, occupation exposure and secondary exposure. Many products are still allowed to contain asbestos in small amounts and historic uses are prevalent today, continuing to pose a risk. These products are listed below, where more information can be found on items and materials that contain asbestos, their uses and the risk posed to those exposed.

Adhesives, Bonding and Sealers

Asbestos was used in adhesives, bonding and sealers for nearly a century, from the 1880s through the 1980s. Products like mastic, putty, caulk and construction tape were all often made with asbestos to add durability and heat resistance. Since asbestos was a popular additive to these products, past uses still remain in thousands of older homes and buildings today.

Asbestos Cement (Transite)

Asbestos cement, or transite, is a mixture of cement and asbestos fibers used to form a variety of products ranging from pipes and roofing sheets to water tanks and flues. Asbestos cement was strong and durable, ideal for withstanding corrosion with a long lifespan. However, asbestos cement manufacturers were at high risk for developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, along with others now experiencing exposure from damaged and deteriorating AC products.

Construction Materials

Construction materials were frequently made with asbestos to help enhance durability and create structures that would withstand weathering and stand up to the hazards of chemical erosion and fire. However, hazards are presented when materials are damaged or crumbled, old homes are remodeled, renovated or demolishes and asbestos fibers are released into the air.

Consumer Products

Consumer products manufactured in the 1900s, as well as some that have been made today, present concerns regarding asbestos exposure. Contaminated consumer goods include baby powder, crock pots, paint and other popular items, putting the population at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases.

Fireproofing and Fire-Resistant Products

Since asbestos is a known natural fire retardant, it quickly became used for a number of fireproofing and fire-resistant products, including asbestos cloth, fire blocks and fire safety gear. These materials put firefighters, construction workers and numerous other industries at risk of exposure, and some of these products can still be actively produced today.


Asbestos was utilized for a variety of insulating materials, like loose-fill insulation in walls, spray on insulation and block insulation. Though there are regulations in place to limit the use of asbestos, the toxin can still be used in insulation today as long as it does not exceed 1%.

Talcum Powder

Natural talc and asbestos deposits are often found near to each other, which has led to contaminated talc making its way into many consumer products, like baby powder and cosmetics. Because of this dangerous contamination, thousands of consumers are taking legal action against manufacturers of talcum powder products.

Transportation and Automotive Products

The transportation and automotive industry has incorporated asbestos into their products for years with its ability to enhance friction for braking components and withstand high temperatures to help keep equipment and operators safe from fires. However, with hundreds of thousands of employees in this industry, many have been, and continue to be, at risk of asbestos exposure.

Once thought to be a miraculous material, asbestos was proven to be a dangerous toxin, putting millions at risk of developing asbestos-related disease, including malignant mesothelioma. Recognizing products that have been known to contain the toxin and understanding the risks can help prevent exposure and stress the importance of achieving a full ban of the carcinogen.

Written by

Tara Strand Senior Content Writer

Tara Strand specializes in researching and writing about asbestos, raising awareness and advocating for a ban.

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Reviewed By

Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor

Jennifer Lucarelli is a partner at the law firm of Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney & Meisenkothen, specializing in asbestos litigation.

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