Asbestos Products are products that contain the asbestos, and they are mainly used for insulation and construction, but the toxic mineral material can also be found in other types of consumer goods. Only certain asbestos containing products are banned, as regulations have been put in place for working on materials containing asbestos in the United States.
Materials and Products that contain the Asbestos
Many types of these asbestos products have been used for construction in American industries, chemical refining and manufacturing from the late 1800s all the way to the 1980s.
The use of asbestos became limited when regulations were enacted from the 1970s down to the 1990s, but it wasn’t fully banned, although lawsuits discouraged companies from the continued use of the mineral material. In nations like China, Mexico, Russia and India, the asbestos products are still very well commonly used.
Today, many Americans are curious as to what products are sources of the Asbestos. Based on a report by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2020, just for the manufacture of asbestos diaphragms alone, chrysotile asbestos is being imported for the chloralkali industry.
An unreasonable risk to the exposure to the asbestos was discovered by the report for workers who handled:
- Aftermarket automotive brakes
- Oilfield brake blocks
- Linings and other vehicle friction products
- Gaskets used in other industries
- Sheet gaskets used in various facilities for chemical production.
Also, for consumers who handle aftermarket auto brakes and linings and gaskets, it was discovered to be a very high risk to asbestos exposure as well. In recent times also, the asbestos has been detected in contaminated talc products, including children’s makeup and baby powder.
Most old asbestos materials like floor tiles in older homes or attic insulation are seen to remain in their place. Some basic use of the asbestos in places like laboratory equipment at universities around the country and old asbestos pipes used for plumbing still remain active till today.
Common Commercial and Industrial Products that contain the Asbestos
Asbestos products were used both commercially and industrially by many different types of trade workers in various industries, which include oil and gas, automotive repair, power generator, chemical production, plumbing, construction and electricity.
Auto mechanics get exposed when changing brakes and clutches, plumbers are exposed to asbestos insulation and pipes, electricians get exposed while repairing electrical panels and other equipment, and construction workers get exposed when building infrastructures.
People who love to indulge in do-it-yourself, who perform different kinds of repairs on older homes or auto mechanics handling aftermarket brake pads and clutch linings are also at very huge risk of getting exposed to asbestos.
Now let us look at some of the most common asbestos products around us:
Ceiling, roofing and flooring tiles were seen to be commonly made using asbestos materials. When laying down flooring tiles, the adhesive used has also been a source of asbestos exposure.
Gaskets, hood liners, valves, brake pads and clutches also contained the asbestos.
Because of the corrosive elements and resistance to heat of the asbestos, it was seen to be used in the production of garments and cloths. Some of the most common textile materials it was used to produce include firefighter suits, rope and blankets.
Owing to the fact that the asbestos fibers provided strength without adding much weight to it, cements that contained asbestos were used in building materials. The fire resistance and insulating properties of the asbestos also made it an ideal substance to add in the production of cement.
During the risk evaluation made by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2020, it was discovered that there was an unreasonable risk to the health of chloralkai workers who handled raw asbestos to make diaphragms. These diaphragms work as a filter in production of sodium hydroxide and chlorine. The agency did not find any threat to consumers because the asbestos does not end up exposed in the final products, as reported.
The United States Geological survey in February 2021 reported a 30% increase the importation of raw chrysotile from the previous year, to support the chloralkai industry.
Other commercial and industrial products of the asbestos include:
- Duct connectors
- Electrical components
- Automotive parts
- Construction mastics & gunning mix
- Laboratory equipment
- Cement sheets
- Products of vinyl
Home and Consumer Products that Contain the Asbestos
Home owners, consumers and people who involve in do-it-yourself exercises have been seen to experience asbestos exposure in home building materials and various consumer goods. Any current Do-it-yourself projects in older homes present a high risk of exposure to home owners today. Those who installed their own flooring and insulations via do-it-yourself programs before the 1990s are also faced with high risks of very dangerous asbestos exposure.
Through contaminated talc products, consumers of makeup products are at risk of the asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, even in children’s makeup, the asbestos materials have also been detected in recent years. It has also appeared to be in toys for children, including a fingerprint kit, clay and crayons.
Other consumer and home products containing the asbestos include:
- Fake snow
- Hair dryers
- Talcum powder
- Zonolite insulation
- Cigarette filters
- Ashtray coasters
- Wicking for gas ranges
Reasons for the use of Asbestos in Materials and Products
The major reasons for the use of asbestos in products are the quality and unique properties that it possesses, making it the best option to be used in most industrial productions.
Asbestos is known to be very strong and resistant to heat and chemical reactions due to its unique physical and chemical properties. It is always less likely to react with other compounds as a result of its chemical composition, and conduction of heat is reduced by the space between its fibers, which makes it very resistant to fire.
Other properties of the asbestos are:
- Abundance in nature: The asbestos is seen to occur naturally in mineral deposits all over the world.
- Durability: The asbestos as a substance is highly resistant to electricity, chemical corrosion and heat.
- Fibrousness: the ores of asbestos can be pulled apart in a wooly consistency and then worked just like any other type of fiber.
- Carcinogenic: These asbestos fibers which are microscopic in nature are not easily broken down by the human body when inhaled. It is over many years before lodged asbestos fibers can cause buildup of scar tissue, chronic inflammation, and cancer.
Research reveals that around the early 20th century, some asbestos companies got to discover the medical effects of their primary source of income on the lives of their employees and consumers. But instead of improving the safety standards of the workplaces, the executives of these companies ignored the information as it seemed to be capable of damaging their reputation and businesses.
Recovered internal documents indicate that executives of Johns-Manville were aware of the health risks as early as 1934. Medical studies on asbestos exposure were conducted by the company around that time, and they confidentially kept the incriminatory results private. This was an asbestos cover-up by the company that lasted for decades.
Bann on Products that Contain Asbestos
Through the Consumer Product Safety Act, Clean Air Act and regulations enacted by the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), several products that contain the asbestos in them have currently been banned in the United States.
In order to assess the current risks to workers and the general public, the EPA is reviewing legacy uses of the asbestos. In 2019, the EPA issued a final rule that prohibits new asbestos products from entering the market without a review, after conducting a review of the current uses of the asbestos. This rule applies to products that used to be common, such as: asbestos cement, vinyl asbestos tiles, and asbestos plastics.
In 1989, the EPA attempted to place a complete ban on all asbestos products, but the United States Court of Appeals overturned the ban in 1991 for the Fifth Circuit, under pressure from industry lobbyists. Ate the time, the EPA was able to ban six of the asbestos products, and previously banned asbestos materials were not reversed by the ruling. As a result of this, certain products containing the asbestos are still sold in the American market.
By law, if the products are less than 1% asbestos or they will not release asbestos fibers during any foreseeable use, then they are not required to carry any warning label. Regulatory organizations control the use of asbestos and manage its removal from older buildings, though the mineral material remains a legal material in the United States.
Other currently banned Asbestos Products include:
- Asbestos wall compound
- Asbestos fireplace decorations
- Spray-on coatings containing more than 1% asbestos
- Asbestos filters for pharmaceutical manufacturing
- Asbestos flooring felt
- Friable asbestos pipe and block insulation
- Asbestos paper products, including specialty, commercial and corrugated paper
- New uses of asbestos from Aug. 25, 1989 and beyond.
Common Question and Answers about Asbestos Products
People usually ask some common questions about these asbestos products like:
Q: Where can we find Asbestos Products?
A: Asbestos can be present in homes in common products like:
- Floor tiles
- Roof shingles
Also in schools, examples of materials with asbestos are:
- Ductwork for cooling and heating systems
- Ceiling tiles
Q: Is the Asbestos still used in Products today?
A: Unfortunately, in the United States, some materials that contain asbestos, such as gaskets and brake pads, are still being sold.
Q: What products are being made with Asbestos?
A: In the home, some common sources of asbestos are:
- Materials such as paper products and fabrics
- Appliances such as coffee pots, dryers and stoves.
In toys and makeup, examples of talc products that contain the asbestos are:
- Makeup products for children
- Amateur crime lab kits.