Asbestos in Aprons Exposure Risks

Asbestos was a common ingredient in professional aprons used to protect workers against heat and fire. Unfortunately, the asbestos in these aprons has proven to be a danger in itself, causing deadly health consequences for thousands of hard-working Americans.

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Aprons that contain asbestos were manufactured in all shapes and sizes. The asbestos was often woven into other materials, like cotton, making it challenging to know whether an apron used asbestos. In addition, many workers replaced their aprons every few years and got rid of them upon retiring. Several decades later, it is near-impossible for some people to remember whether the aprons they used had asbestos listed on the material tag.

Asbestos in Aprons Explained

Asbestos was used in aprons and other protective clothing supplied to many shop workers because asbestos’ natural properties make it extremely fire and heat resistant. Asbestos is also lightweight, inexpensive and relatively flexible to manipulate, which made it highly desirable to manufacturers and companies that needed to protect their workers.

Asbestos-containing aprons were supplied en masse to protect Americans from the dangers of their everyday jobs.

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Asbestos in aprons is now recognized as an extreme health hazard in the United States but continues to be manufactured in other parts of the world. In fact, you can currently buy an asbestos apron online.

Scientists discovered in the 1970s that asbestos is just as dangerous as the elements it was meant to protect against. Like any garments, asbestos aprons eventually became worn or ripped. The result was the release of millions of airborne and friable asbestos fibers. If inhaled, asbestos fibers can get lodged in the lungs, eventually leading to an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma.

These aprons are no longer commonly used in the United States, but for many workers who used asbestos-containing aprons in the past, this discontinuation is too little, too late.

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Exposure to asbestos has led to thousands of mesothelioma diagnoses. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the Mesothelioma Justice Guide will help you understand your rights and know the next steps.

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Who Was Exposed to Asbestos in Aprons?

Workers who used protective aprons in their work before the mid-1980s are at risk of being exposed to asbestos—a common ingredient in safety aprons up until this time.

Some of the occupations that used asbestos in aprons include:

While first-hand exposure is the most likely to cause health concerns, medical records have also indicated that family members and co-workers who were in the vicinity are also at risk.

It’s common for workers to bring clothing and materials into shared spaces, including homes, vehicles and office spaces, potentially exposing others to the asbestos. In fact, indirect exposure to asbestos in aprons is a concern to this day.

Thanks to the wholesale export of American manufacturing by U.S. corporations, asbestos products continue to be manufactured in China and other countries without asbestos regulations, potentially cross-contaminating shared shipping and manufacturing environments.

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ASPEC, a Hong Kong-based organization, reports that the same asbestos cloth used in welding aprons is used in the cargo holds of freighters. Asbestos contaminates the products that share the freighter, as well as the cargo holds, posing a hazard for longshoremen and others who work on board such seafaring vessels.

Health Risks of Asbestos in Aprons

All clothing naturally wears out. As people perform their everyday tasks, aprons get bent, ripped, rubbed and otherwise deteriorate. This decay causes asbestos fibers to be released, triggering the health risk inherent to asbestos use.

When left alone, asbestos is not a concern. That’s why it continues to remain in countless homes, despite the known risks. When asbestos is disturbed, it releases microscopic fibers into the air, becoming an extreme risk to the health of those nearby.

Asbestos fibers are easily inhaled, potentially becoming lodged in the lungs, heart or abdominal linings. Because of the shape and durability of asbestos, it’s nearly impossible for the body to remove the fibers once lodged. After 1-5 decades, the trapped fibers cause nearby cells to mutate into mesothelioma—cancerous cells that can then spread throughout the body.

Access Asbestos Trust Funds

Compensation for treatment, loss of income and other damages is available through Asbestos Trust Funds. Workers with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses may qualify.

Find Out If You Qualify

Seeking Justice for Asbestos Exposure

Many people have developed mesothelioma because of their exposure to asbestos in aprons. Asbestos can have devastating effects on the health of workers who thought they were protecting themselves by using the proper safety equipment.

If you have mesothelioma and worked with asbestos products, contact our Justice Support Team to find out exactly how you may have been exposed. Call us at (888) 360-4215 or request your FREE Mesothelioma Justice Guide to understand the available compensation for damages and treatment costs.

Mesothelioma Support Team
Stephanie KiddWritten by:


Stephanie Kidd works tirelessly as a dedicated advocate for the vulnerable and underrepresented. Stephanie worked as a copywriter for an agency whose focus was communicating safety procedures on construction work sites. With her extensive background in victim advocacy and a dedication to seeing justice done, Stephanie works hard to ensure that all online content is reliable, truthful and helpful.

View 4 Sources
  1. Inspectapedia, “Asbestos Products.” Retrieved from: Accessed on May 26, 2018.
  2., “6 Products That Still Contain Asbestos.” Retrieved from: Accessed on May 26, 2018.
  3. Airsafe, “7 products you won’t believe were made with asbestos.” Retrieved from: Accessed on May 26, 2018.
  4. US Library of Medicine, “Exposure and risks from wearing asbestos mitts.” Retrieved from: Accessed on May 26, 2018.
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