Asbestos:Is it hiding in your home? It is widely known that asbestos, the toxic, naturally forming, fibrous mineral, can be found in building materials such insulation and drywall as well as brake shoes and gaskets. But you might be surprised to know where else asbestos has been… and where it is now. Did you know that asbestos has also been found in grooming bags, kitchen appliances and even a child’s toy box.
WHERE IT HAS BEEN
Up until the year 2000, asbestos has been used in the manufacturing of hair dryers, curling irons and even baby powder. A photographer actually discovered asbestos fibers being emitted from a blow dryer. He was not photographing the hair dryer. He was drying negatives that he had just developed and noticed a dust on the film that turned out to be asbestos. studies during that time period discovered that asbestos exposure from a hair dryer can be equal to or even greater than exposure from being a bystander to a nearby construction site. Electric curling irons as well as the holders have been manufactured using asbestos. In a curling iron, however, it is significantly less likely that the particles become air born. In the late 70s early 80s, as many as 10 out of every 19 body and baby powders tested at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York were contaminated with asbestos fibers, containing anywhere from 2% to 20%.
Refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves and ovens contain asbestos. Although the day to day use rarely creates air born debris, the installation, maintenance and repair can put the entire family (as well as the technician) at risk. Large appliances are typically repaired at home. Smaller appliances such as the Fry-Daddy, toasters, popcorn makers, slow cookers and a plethora of others also contain asbestos. The chance of asbestos being inhaled from these appliances is minimal, but considering the sheer volume of people who own one (or more), even the slightest chance of asbestos exposure should be considered UNACCPETABLE.
If your child/children used Crayola, Prang or Rose Art crayons to create those adorable drawings that hung on the refrigerator (which also may have contained asbestos), they may possibly have been exposed to asbestos. It was not until the year 2001 that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) determined that the risk, although low, was sufficient to require the manufacturers to find a substitute for the asbestos. In 2007 Planet Toy’s popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Fingerprint Examination Kit was determined to be asbestos-containing. Planet Toy’s ended up filing for bankruptcy, but in 2010, the remaining parties in the pending class action litigation were finalizing a settlement that would refund the price of the toy and initiate a recall of the toy. The toy was actually found to be #1 on the list of the top 10 most dangerous toys.
WHERE IS IT NOW?
In January of this year, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) posted a new report from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that detailed asbestos consumption in the United States. Many are not aware that even though the U.S. stopped producing asbestos, we continue to import it in substantial quantity. In 2012 it was estimated that we imported 1,060 metric tons of asbestos. The industry which produces chlorine and sodium hydroxide accounted for approximately 57 percent of consumption. The roofing industry accounted for 47 percent. This leaves 2 percent unaccounted for. Asbestos exposure, in any amount, is not safe. So where is that remaining 2%? (which after just a little bit of math, works out to be over 21 metric tons of asbestos per year) Nobody knows. Is it in your bathroom? Is it lurking in your kitchen? Are your children or nieces and nephews innocently playing with it after you have taken special care to steer them away the typical hazards of sharp or hot objects and electrical current?