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Fibrous Adhesive

Asbestos was once a commonly used material in all sorts of construction and consumer products, because of its unique property of being resistant to heat and fire. In the late 1970s, however, asbestos was banned because of the serious health problems associated with the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Unfortunately asbestos was so widely used that it still remains in millions of structures and many consumer products, posing considerable health risks such as mesothelioma cancer, to anyone who comes into contact with it.

Asbestos in Fibrous Adhesive

Many types of old fibrous adhesives that contained asbestos fibers become brittle with age and begin crumbling into dust. In this state, these ACMs (asbestos-containing materials) are said to be friable. It is for this reason that people who work in clerical and academic occupations where their duties are carried out in older buildings are sometimes at risk for asbestos diseases.

Those who suspect the presence of asbestos in the workplace should first report their concerns to their immediate supervisors or the building manager. People who live in homes built prior to 1980 that have not undergone recent renovation should contact a licensed asbestos abatement service and not attempt to remove the offending materials themselves. Also be aware that fibrous adhesives and other ACMs are considered toxic waste under most state laws and must be disposed of according to strict guidelines.

Adhesives are used for a wide range of purposes in building and ship construction. Fibrous adhesive is employed primarily in areas of the structure where heat is likely to pose a hazard, such as the installation of thermal insulation. Fibrous adhesive comes in a liquid form and is applied with a brush, trowel or even a sprayer. The material is completely non-flammable and the best types of fibrous adhesive can withstand temperatures exceeding 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

Today, the flame retardant in commercial fibrous adhesive usually consists of silicon and/or sodium compounds. Prior to the early 1980s however, the "fiber" in fibrous adhesive was usually asbestos, which could be one of three varieties: chrysotile, amosite or crocidolite. The latter two, classified as amphibole asbestos, were especially deadly, but were relatively rare, making up no more than 2% of all commercial asbestos products. Chrysotile or "white" asbestos was much more common. While not quite as harmful as the amphibole varieties, chrysotile asbestos fibers could still cause serious damage to the respiratory system in the form of internal scarring (asbestosis) and thickening and stiffening of lung tissue.

Fibrous Adhesive Products Containing Asbestos

The following partial list of fibrous adhesive products were known to contain asbestos:

Product Name Start Year End Year
Celotex Carey Fibrous Adhesive
Combustion Engineering Fibrous Adhesive 1964 1965
Empire Ace Fibrous Adhesives 1959 1984
H.B. Fuller Fibrous Adhesive 1942
Johns Manville Fibrous Adhesive Cement 1981
M.H. Detrick Fibrous Adhesive 1958 1964

Hazards Associated with Asbestos Fibrous Adhesive Products

Asbestos fibers are safe enough when they are contained, but when damaged or torn, asbestos-containing materials can release the fibers into the air where they can easily be inhaled. Inhaled asbestos fibers enter the body, but the body is not able to process or break them down. The lodged fibers can cause the formation of tumors, particularly in the mesothelium, a thin layer of cells which protects and surrounds the delicate internal organs of the body like the heart and lungs. These tumors can develop into a disease known as malignant mesothelioma.

Learn More about Compensation for Asbestos-Related Injury

Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases have a known cause: past exposure to asbestos. The manufacturers of many asbestos-containing products like fibrous adhesives sold these items with full knowledge of the dangers posed by asbestos. Because of this, a skilled mesothelioma lawyer can help mesothelioma victims get the compensation they deserve. To help you with the difficult process of finding available treatment options (such as radiation treatment or mesothelioma surgery) as well as effective legal representation, we have created a mesothelioma information packet. To receive your packet at absolutely no cost, simply fill in the form on this page and we will rush your information packet to you right away.



Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Untold Story of Asbestos (New York: Touchstone, 2003)

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