Asbestos is not a chemical or synthetic product. It is a mineral that occurs naturally in the environment. Manufacturers have used asbestos for many years because it is inexpensive and durable. One of its unique properties is that it is resistant to heat and fire. It is best known for its prevalence in building materials such as paint, shingles and pipes. There are, however, some other common household products that contain asbestos that can also contribute to the development of deadly mesothelioma. One of those unknown asbestos containing products is rope.
Rope with asbestos in it is mainly found in items that are designed to be fireproof. It was commonly used to make fire retardant blankets, oven mitts, ironing board covers and gaskets for boilers. While many building materials containing asbestos are illegal and no longer used, rope is one product that continues to be manufactured with this deadly substance. The rope is available in two different styles, one contains dust, the other doesn’t. Naturally, the dust-free version of this asbestos rope is safer because fewer particles are released into the air. When handling this type of rope, safety precautions and equipment should always be used, such as protective clothing.
Rope made with asbestos can easily be purchased from a number of different countries; China produces a great deal of the material on the market today. For the most part, it is inexpensive and durable, two things that companies are greatly drawn to. The reason that this type of rope is dangerous is because it is prone to shedding fibers. Products that shed fibers and contain asbestos are considered highly likely to cause cancer. Exposure to even just a small amount of asbestos has been known to cause cancer, and continual exposure increases the likelihood of complications.
Just because a product contains asbestos does not make it a hazard. As a gasket or seal, asbestos rope is not considered hazardous, because it is likely to be located inside of a container that will prevent exposure to dangerous fibers. Asbestos becomes dangerous when particles containing it become airborne and are inhaled, or if it should somehow be ingested into the body in some other fashion. Other items, such as ironing board covers and fire retardant blankets, containing asbestos ropes should no longer be used due to the significant risk to exposure that these items present.