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Furnace Cement

Furnace Cement

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral once widely used in thousands of consumer and commercial products. Asbestos was banned in the United States in the late 1970s as it was proven to be hazardous to human health. By then, however, asbestos had been used in the construction of buildings all over the country and created an asbestos cancer risk for those living and working in these buildings.

Asbestos in Furnace Cement

While most of today's furnace cement products use sodium silicate for fire resistance, for over 130 years asbestos was most often used for that purpose. Asbestos had some distinct advantages over flame-retardant substances; it was common and easy to obtain and was very easy to use. However, the biggest factor was cost; asbestos could be purchased at a very low cost. This is the main reason that its use continued for several decades after medical science had proven the health hazards of asbestos fibers.

Old, dried-out and crumbling (friable) furnace cement that contained asbestos fibers can pose a serious health threat. People who work in older buildings or reside in homes or apartments built before the early 1980s that have not undergone and renovations are at risk for exposure. These friable asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) can be sealed up, but must be removed by professional asbestos-abatement workers. Because it is classified as toxic waste by most state environmental regulations, it must be disposed of in accordance with local and state ordinances as well.

Also known as "stove cement," furnace cement is a specialty type of joint compound and adhesive designed for use in the presence of extreme high-heat. Applications include fireboxes, boilers, stoves, flues, kilns, building furnaces, refractories and other types of combustion chambers. In addition to flame resistance, furnace cement products are also formulated to stand up to oil, coal and other types of combustible fuels. Furnace cement should be able to withstand temperatures up to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Furnace Cement Products Containing Asbestos

The following partial list of furnace cement products were known to contain asbestos:

Product Name Start Year End Year
Hercules Furnace Cement 1973 1983
Johns Manville Furnace Cement 1924 1973
Rutland Fireclay Furnace Cement 1920 1977

Hazards Associated with Asbestos Furnace Cement Products

The primary danger with any asbestos product is that the asbestos fibers may become friable, which means they can be released into the air. When inhaled, these fibers cause a number of conditions, including asbestosis, pleural plaques, and – most seriously – malignant mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is an incurable disease, a type of cancer that forms when asbestos fibers lodge in the delicate tissues of the mesothelium (a thin layer of cells that surround and protect the lungs, the heart, and the stomach). Anyone who has worked with asbestos-containing products like furnace cement is at risk to develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions.

Learn More about Compensation for Asbestos-Related Injury

Malignant mesothelioma is not a disease that “just happens”. Almost all cases of mesothelioma can be attributed to past asbestos exposure. Many manufacturers of those asbestos products knew the dangers posed by asbestos but continued to expose millions of people to this deadly material. If you or someone you love has developed mesothelioma, a mesothelioma lawyer may be able to help you receive compensation for your injury. To get a free information packet that can help you learn more about asbestos, mesothelioma, medical treatment, and your legal options, fill in the form on this page and we will rush you a complimentary mesothelioma information packet right away, at no cost to you.



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

Colvin, Fred. The Railroad Pocket-Book: A Quick Reference Cyclopedia of Railroad Information. (New York: Derry-Collard, 1906)

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