How Was Asbestos Used?2019-06-04T10:45:27+00:00

Products and Commercial Uses of Asbestos

In the late 1800s, asbestos started to be mined and used commercially in North America. Asbestos is a mineral that can be found throughout the United States, including strips and clusters of deposits in New Jersey, Georgia, Michigan, Washington, Arizona, California and elsewhere in the United States. Russia is presently the world’s leading supplier of the mineral with China, Brazil and India also having a history of asbestos production.

During World War II, the use of asbestos in the United States increased, especially in the shipbuilding industry, where asbestos was used to insulate boilers, steam pipes and hot water pipes. The automobile industry also used asbestos in vehicle brake shoes and clutch pads. More than 5,000 products contain or have contained asbestos, including:

  • Textile products, such as roofing materials, packing components and fire-resistant fabrics
  • Paper products, including table pads, heat-protective mats, wire insulation and sheet flooring
  • Friction products, such as brake linings, gaskets and clutch facings
  • Cement sheet and pipe products, including roofing and siding casings, fire protection material, electrical switchboards and other building materials
  • Construction products, including drywall, joint compounds, spackling, and patching compounds, stucco and plastic cement products, fire doors, and vinyl flooring
  • Asbestos Cement Pipe, commonly used in underground municipal water delivery systems
  • Insulation, including pipe, boiler, and block insulation; HVAC duct insulation, sprayed-in or blown-in insulation
  • Industrial & Marine Gaskets and Packings, including high temperature gaskets, packings for industrial products, high pressure packing, and asbestos packing reinforced with steel or copper wire
  • Acoustical Texture Products, including acoustical plaster, decorative plaster, textured paint or coatings (such as “popcorn” ceilings)

Reasons Why Asbestos Was Used

Asbestos was used, and continues to be used in some countries, in industrial and domestic products due to its resistance to heat and fire and its reluctance to conduct electricity. The fine and flexible fibers also mix well into other materials, such as cement, and do not dissolve or evaporate with water. The mineral carries excellent insulation properties and makes products stronger, more flexible and fire-retardant.

Learn where asbestos was used, where it is still used and what companies really know about asbestos use in industrial and commercial products.

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