Asbestos in Cloth Products and Other Materials
Asbestos cloth has been around for millennia; the ancient Romans were so fascinated by the material that they had tablecloths and napkins made from asbestos. Centuries later, medieval Frankish emperor Charlemagne reportedly had a "magical" tablecloth that he would toss into the fireplace for cleaning after dinner - to the amazement of his guests.
In modern times, asbestos cloth was found in various types of industrial, construction and military settings. It was frequently used for insulation of boilers and steam pipes as well as electrical applications, fuel lines and anyplace else where fire damage was a hazard and where a flexible covering was needed. Asbestos cloth was also used in protective clothing, such as fire suits used by firefighters and even drivers participating in motorsports. It was commonly used in gauntlets and aprons worn by workers in trades involving high heat, such as glassblowing, and could even be found in many kitchens in the early 20th century in hot pads and oven mitts. It was also used in ironing board covers, carpet, and similar domestic items.
Asbestos cloth is no longer produced in the United States, but many manufacturers still produce the cloth in India, China, and other countries.
Asbestos Cloth Products Containing Asbestos
The following partial list of asbestos cloth products were known to contain asbestos:
|Product Name||Start Year||End Year|
|3M Rubber Coated Asbestos Cloth||1977||1987|
|A. W. Chesterton Asbestos Cloth||1907||1974|
|Amatex Asbestos Cloth||1950|
|Celotex Carey Asbestos Cloth|
|H.K. Porter Cleangard|
|H.K. Porter Cloth|
|H.K. Porter Lag||1967||1974|
|H.K. Porter Splashgard|
|H.K. Porter Therm-A-Gard||1967||1974|
|H.K. Porter Weldgard|
|Johns Manville Cloth (Coated)||1960||1983|
|Keene Asbestos Cloth|
|Nicolet Asbestos Gasket Cloth||1962||1972|
|Pacor Asbestos Cloth||1942||1950|
|Raymark Novatex (Cloth)||1967||1982|
|Raymark Polybestos (Cloth)||1962||1979|
|Raymark Raybestos Silvabestos|
|Raymark Rhinobestos (Cloth)||1959||1970|
|Raymark Sealsafe (Cloth)||1972||1982|
|Raymark Speedlag (Cloth)||1969||1976|
|Uniroyal Asbestos Cloth||1941||1976|
Hazards Associated with Asbestos Cloth Products
Asbestos cloth put several distinct groups of people at risk for asbestos exposure. Workers in mines and textile mills that produced the cloth were probably at the highest risk, as they worked directly with raw asbestos mineral fiber. Miners, millers, weavers, and workers who maintained and repaired the machinery in the mines and factories rarely wore protective gear or equipment and thus had the potential for being exposed to asbestos regularly.
Industrial workers using asbestos cloth material were also put at risk. Boilermakers, welders, glassblowers, machinists, construction workers, and many others used asbestos cloth in a broad number of common applications.
The largest group of individuals potentially at risk, however, was homeowners. Since asbestos cloth found its way into a wide variety of consumer products like oven mitts, hot pads, carpeting, etc., these individuals were often unknowingly exposed to the harmful substance.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)