Have you heard of the dangers of asbestos? While this is not a very publicized health topic, asbestos is, in fact, harmful to your health.
Everybody is exposed to asbestos in small amounts at some point. But people who are exposed daily are at the highest risk and might face severe health conditions like Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
Asbestos happens to be very useful for construction, commercial and industrial use. While most harmful asbestos products have been banned, it is still in use in many household items today.
In fact, you might be using certain things unknowingly that put you at risk, too. So, check this list out, just to be sure you’re asbestos-free.
The hair dryer has been described as a “small asbestos spray gun”, and rightly so. This is one of the most direct forms of exposure because you’re literally blowing asbestos dust near your nose.
Until 1980, most handheld hair dryers had asbestos as a heat resistant measure. At one point there were nearly 5 million of such hazardous hairdryers circulating on the market, being manufactured by famous brands like Conair and Remington.
Fortunately, the dangers of this were discovered and production of these asbestos insulated dryers was discontinued. The manufacturers even announced a voluntary refund and return policy to remove the contaminated equipment from the market.
Nowadays, you’ll hardly find hair dryers with asbestos. But you can’t be sure that the previous ones are all gone. So, if you own a really old hair dryer, it might be wise to check the manufacturing date!
#2. Household Appliances
Many home appliances in the early 50s, 60s, and 70s were packed with asbestos for insulation. This is no surprise because asbestos is resistant to both electricity and heat. For example, toasters needed asbestos panels while irons used the mineral over handles or heated cores.
While production of products with dangerous levels of asbestos have been discontinued, the ones that were already produced in the previous era might still be circulating. Antique collectors, or people who want a vintage vibe for their home might be interested in old appliances, and unknowingly end up buying them.
Even household heaters had asbestos, and this is something you might still face in the modern world if the house you live in is very old. So, make sure to get your appliances checked for asbestos and replaced.
#3. Children’s Toys
If you have kids, beware of the toys you get them. In 2007, 2010, and 2015, it was found that some crayons and crime scene fingerprint kits made in China were contaminated with asbestos.
Major brands like Crayola, Prang, and Rose Art were also selling these hazardous toys. But because the asbestos was low in concentration, these companies were then instructed to find alternate ingredients, and stop using asbestos.
Crime Scene fingerprint kits were a larger danger because asbestos was found in powder form, which kids could directly breathe in. Asbestos is harmful for everyone, but children are the most susceptible, making it a serious issue of concern.
#4. Gardening Products
Do you love gardening, or happen to have a few indoor plants lying around? Well here’s news for you – you too might be exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is often found in vermiculite, which is used in most gardening products like fertilizers, pesticides, potting mixes, and composts.
While vermiculite itself is not harmful, when mined out, it might contain trace amounts of asbestos dust. Sellers have now started using the “non dusty” label on their products, which is what gardeners should actually look out for.
Trace amounts may not seem very dangerous, but that’s the scary part of dealing with asbestos. There are no safe levels and repeated, direct exposure over time is usually what harms human health.
#5. Construction Materials
It is a well known fact that construction materials contain asbestos. Asbestos is found in everything from cement and paint to flooring and insulation, especially in houses built before 1980s.
But unfortunately, asbestos use in construction products has not stopped in recent times completely either. While this isn’t directly harmful, asbestos exposure occurs when these structures get demolished, altered, or need repairing.
This leaves construction workers, electricians, plumbers, and even homeowners in a risky position. So, it’s important to be aware of what is in your home’s structures and take the necessary precautions.
#6. Talcum Powder
Asbestos is also found in talcum powder, which is an ingredient in things we use daily, like makeup and personal hygiene products. It is particularly found in baby powders (large brands like Johnson and Johnson have also been found guilty), lotions and products like blush and eyeshadow.
Talc deposits with asbestos, so it’s easy for it to be contaminated while being mined out. Because of all these issues, in 1973, the FDA stated that all talc should be tested and ensured to be asbestos free.
And while this law is still in place, asbestos was found in children’s makeup brands like Justice Stores and Claires, as recently as 2017 and 2018. These products have now been removed from shelves, but it is a matter of concern because there is no guarantee that people have stopped being exposed.
Now that you know the list of products that might still contain asbestos, it’s time to actively avoid them as best you can. If you’ve got older appliances, or you live in an older house, be sure to do a thorough check up.
Homeowners can make use of asbestos removal services to keep themselves out of danger. As for workers and people in direct contact with asbestos, there are some safety standards to follow like using goggles, face masks, and gloves.
The dangers of asbestos are often understated, but with a little awareness, you can keep yourself and your family out of harm’s way.