Asbestos in Hair Dryers Exposure and Risks

Summary

From the 1970s until the early 1980s, asbestos was commonly used to make hair dryers. Asbestos is a material that is resistant to fire and heat, which made it an ideal component in the lining of hair dryers —both commercial and domestic. Unfortunately, asbestos is a carcinogenic material that can cause severe health problems, including mesothelioma.

Asbestos in Hair Dryers Explained

Asbestos is a carcinogenic material that was frequently used in a variety of industries until the early 1980s for its heat-resistant properties. It’s this exact property that made it seem like the ideal component to use in hair dryers—to prevent the device from becoming too warm and setting on fire.

In 1979, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission acknowledged a dozen major brands for selling hair dryers containing a dangerous amount of asbestos, and demanded that they discontinue the production of these hair dryers. Major brands known to produce asbestos-containing hair dryers in the 1970s:

  • Conair Corp
  • General Electric Co.
  • Pro Pistol
  • Power Brush
  • GE
  • Gillette Co.
  • Korvettes
  • Montgomery Ward & Co.
  • North American Philips Co.
  • JC Penney Inc.
  • Shick, Inc.
  • Sears Roebuck & Co.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that from the 1970s to the early 1980s, 90% of manufacturers used asbestos in their hair dryers.

After the dangers of asbestos in hair dryers were reported in the late 1970s, most manufacturers immediately ceased production of their asbestos-containing models.

Free Mesothelioma Justice Guide

Exposure to asbestos products like hair dryers 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 Hair Dryers?

The relationship between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma has been well documented over the past 50 years, but many people associate the disease with working in mines or factories where there would have been a high concentration of the carcinogenic substance.

Many people don’t think of household items as hazardous, and it’s particularly shocking when it’s everyday items, such as hair dryers, can be considered dangerous.

Mesothelioma in Hairdressers

One study from 2015 cites research that looked at 2,989 mesothelioma cases in Italy from 2000-2009 and noted that there were a total of 30 mesothelioma cases identified among hairdressers. The most likely way for them to have developed mesothelioma was through the daily use of hair dryers.

There were 30 hair dryer models that were examined and showed to emit 0.11 fibers per ml. According to OSHA, the legal occupational exposure standard is 0.1 fibers per ml for every 8-hour shift, meaning that these hair dryers were exposing not only the hairdresser but the clients to a harmful level of asbestos exposure.

Asbestos in Home-Use Hair Dryers

However, it wasn’t just hairdressers who were exposed to asbestos in hair dryers. Home-use hair dryer manufacturers were also guilty of using asbestos until the 1980s, and it has been estimated that up to 10 million asbestos-containing hair dryers were in circulation.

It was the job of the product itself to blow air into the hair/face, meaning that when these hair dryers were in use, they were effectively aiming harmful asbestos dust directly into users’ airways.

Health Risks of Asbestos in Hair Dryers

In 1979, the Environmental Defense Fund also investigated the asbestos-lining in hair dryers, and estimated that 10 million of the 55 million hair dryers sold since 1974 would have contained asbestos, some of which could emit incredibly dangerous levels of asbestos fibers.

Asbestos fibers can be easily inhaled and the tiny particles can attach themselves to the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. Over time, asbestos fibers trigger genetic mutations in healthy cells, turning them into cancerous mesothelioma cells.

Access Asbestos Trust Funds

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

Find Out If You Qualify

Seeking Justice for Asbestos Exposure

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and believe that you may have come into contact with an asbestos-containing hair dryer through your occupation, then you may wish to seek legal help. Mesothelioma victims may qualify for compensation to help cover treatment costs and other damages.

For more information on how you may have been exposed to asbestos, contact our Justice Support Team. Call us at (888) 360-4215 or request a FREE Mesothelioma Justice Guide to better understand the next steps in seeking justice.

View Author and Sources
Sources
  1. Case report: peritoneal mesothelioma from asbestos in hairdryers. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4273513/. Accessed on July 12, 2018.
  2. March 1979 Washington Post: “Some Hair Dryers Give Off Asbestos”. Retrieved from: http://www.thepumphandle.org/2015/02/12/march-1979-washington-post-some-hair-dryers-give-off-asbestos/#.W0f7tS-ZM_V. Accessed on July 12, 2018.
  3. Six household items that could contain asbestos, Retrieved from: https://www.airsafe.net.au/news/6-household-items-could-contain-asbestos. Accessed on July 12, 2018.
  4. CPSC Lists Hair Dryers With Asbestos. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1979/04/07/cpsc-lists-hair-dryers-with-asbestos/ab11732e-c908-4caa-81f9-6652e0b9ae1d/?utm_term=.5893687aaeb6. Accessed on July 12, 2018.
  5. Safety Commission Acts on Hair Dryers. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1979/03/30/safety-commission-acts-on-hair-dryers/096663f0-e6fb-44f5-ab09-c625f12645a6/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9effddb3aaa3. Accessed on July 12, 2018.
  6. Blown away: EDF investigation of asbestos in hair dryers. Retrieved from: http://blogs.edf.org/health/2010/04/01/blown-away-edf-investigation-of-asbestos-in-hair-dryers/. Accessed on July 12, 2018.

Last modified: July 27, 2018