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Asbestos Cloth

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.



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)

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