Asbestos in Asbestos Paper Products and Other Building Materials
The term "asbestos paper" can refer to a number of different paper products, ranging from thermal paper (a paper backing product) to insulation. Prior to the 1980s, asbestos paper was very commonly used for its flame retardant properties. Since the turn of the 20th century, asbestos paper was used as insulation for steam pipes, electrical conduits and – since their introduction in the late 1940s – air conditioning units. Some types of asbestos paper backing was sold under brand names such as "Fireclad," "Fireguard" and "Gold Bond."
After the health dangers of asbestos became public knowledge in the wake of the discovery of the "Sumner Simpson Papers" exposing a forty-year cover-up by the asbestos industry, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission made a request of manufacturers, including 3M, GAF Corporation and others, to cease production of asbestos paper products. However, this "request" did not have the force of law, and asbestos paper continued to be sold until the late 1980s.
It is estimated that some 750,000 buildings nationwide may still contain asbestos paper products, making them a hazard for renovation and demolition workers. After a quarter century or more, asbestos paper is likely to have become brittle. In this state, these materials are considered friable, meaning that they release asbestos fibers into the local environment. When such materials are encountered and identified, they should remain undisturbed until a professional asbestos abatement service can be contacted.
Asbestos Paper Products Containing Asbestos
The following partial list of asbestos paper products were known to contain asbestos:
|Product Name||Start Year||End Year|
|Armstrong Accopac Asbestos Paper|
|Boise Cascade BSC White Paper Products||1967||1974|
|Celotex Asbestos Papers & RolI Boards||1908||1982|
|Celotex Carey Corrugated Asbestos Paper||1906||1960|
|Celotex Carey Fireclad Asbestos Paper|
|Celotex Carey Fireguard Asbestos Paper|
|Celotex Carey Thermotex-B|
|GAF Flat And Corrugated Asbestos Paper||1928||1981|
|Johns Manville Asbestocel Paper||1902||1931|
|Johns Manville Asbestos Paper||1920||1980|
|Johns Manville Commerical Grade Paper||1929||1980|
|Johns Manville Doublex Asbestos Paper||1936||1980|
|Johns Manville Fibroid Asbestos Paper||1911||1980|
|Keene Asbestos Paper|
|National Gypsum Gold Bond Asbestos Paper|
|Nicolet Asbestos Paper||1960|
|Nicolet Asbestos Paper (Commercial)||1939|
|Nicolet Asbestos Paper (Mfg. Grade)||1930|
|United States Gypsum Asbestos Paper||1936||1939|
Hazards Associated with Asbestos Paper Products
Asbestos paper was used by a wide variety of industrial professionals in an enormous range of applications. The highest risk of exposure was undoubtedly suffered by those who directly mined asbestos, but industrial workers creating and working with asbestos paper products also had severe exposure risk. Mill workers worked directly with asbestos fibers when creating asbestos paper products. Insulation installers and maintenance workers used asbestos paper frequently and would have been exposed to damaged asbestos paper, making inhalation of asbestos fibers very likely. Electricians installing conduit used asbestos paper, as did HVAC technicians and air conditioning repairmen.
More recently, demolition, maintenance, and repair workers laboring at any of the hundreds of thousands of commercial and residential buildings that still contain asbestos paper are undoubtedly exposed to the dangerous fibers whenever they do work on those structures.Sources
Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Untold Story of Asbestos (New York: Touchstone, 2003)
OIPA Press Release. "Statement On Asbestos Paper And Major U.S. Manufacturers Of The Product." U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 31 March 1980.