Asbestos is a material which was commonly used in construction and throughout properties built before 2000. However, due to the low-cost, chemical and heat-resistance problems, and not to mention the strengthening properties of asbestos, its use is far more widespread than people think – with the dangerous material being found in a range of everyday and more unexpected products and spots both inside and outside the home.
Building on from an earlier blog we posted, here are 5 more of the most unusual places where you might find asbestos. This blog aims to give you an ideal starting point from which to start your own at-home assessment of asbestos risk.
In 1952, Kent Cigarettes were inspired to produce and release a range of asbestos filters for their cigarettes, owing to the rumours that smoking caused cancer and that this cancer was caused by an underlying presence of asbestos. Of course, these filters did little to protect smokers from lung cancer which has been directly connected with the habit – however, the presence of asbestos in these old-school cigarettes is an interesting one to note.
2. Fake Snow
This one is grounded in horror stories from the sets of movies which were filmed in the early 1900s, where fake snow was made directly from ground-up asbestos. The Wizard of Oz is one of the best-known examples of this in action, with the snow featured in the film made from asbestos to achieve that pure white and authentic look. Unfortunately, this prop choice resulted in many of the cast and crew being diagnosed with severe illnesses later in life.
3. Fire Blankets
We’ve already touched on the heat-resistant properties of asbestos in connection with its use in chimneys and properties – but did you know that the material was once used in the construction and design of fire blankets? These are particularly dangerous as they release asbestos particles into the air whenever the blanket is handled, released, or used in the case of a fire – with these particles then being breathed in by those in the immediate and surrounding vicinity, putting the individuals at risk of a range of diseases and conditions. Many of these do not become apparent for years after the event, which is why such products remain on the market for so long before the dangers were identified and highlighted.
4. Ironing Boards
Another point for the heat-resistant club and this can be found in most households. Ironing boards used to be made with an asbestos cement plate on which to rest the iron during and after use, protecting the fabric covering of the board and providing a safe surface on which to rest the heated implement. Homeowners have since found out the danger of asbestos in the home and are being encouraged to book surveys and safely dispose of these products – though, in the grand scheme of things, this is one of the less dangerous examples of asbestos in use as the board remains intact.
5. Asbestos insoles
We bet you didn’t expect this one to end the list… did you know that some insoles contain asbestos, meaning that people have literally been walking all over the harmful material for decades? The range of asbestos insoles, which were marketed as a solution for sweaty feet, peeling callouses off and reducing inflammation, has of course now been taken off the market as a result of the compounding which releases particles of the material into the air with every step.
To cut a long story short, there really is nowhere in the home that is 100% safe from the influence of asbestos – but a professional asbestos survey is the best way of ensuring your family is safe from any harmful asbestos particles.
You can find out more about what an asbestos survey involves at South East Asbestos Surveys Ltd.