Asbestos in Tape Exposures and Risks

Summary

That sticky gray tape that everyone has come to know and love got its name from its very practical function. Duct tape was intended for taping and reinforcing various kinds of ducts, especially those used for heating. But before duct tape, builders used a deadly, cancer-causing product to do the same job—asbestos tape.

Asbestos in Tape Explained

Asbestos tape was frequently used on construction sites and in renovation projects because it was handy, effective and inexpensive. It was commonly used by electricians to seal or create a strong electrical connection, and it was also used prevalently for ductwork and steam pipes. Workers loved asbestos tape because it’s cost-effective, flexible and incredibly useful.

Asbestos tape is typically white and resembles thick paper or the duct tape most people are familiar with today. The asbestos fibers are lined with a sticky adhesive on one side, making it easy to tape down.

Asbestos Tape Posed Higher Risks of Exposure

Asbestos tape has a high volume of asbestos, making it more dangerous than some of the other asbestos products that were historically used in homes and buildings.

Today, asbestos tape is still commonly manufactured and sold in countries such as China and India. This tape is often labeled “dust-free,” because the asbestos fibers are less likely to become airborne, but this doesn’t mean they are safe. This form of asbestos tape may be white or silver.

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Who Was Exposed to Asbestos in Tape?

Many people have been exposed to asbestos in tape, while others continue to be exposed today.

Occupations that may put people in contact with asbestos tape include:

People who worked with asbestos tape on a regular basis are at the highest risk of developing mesothelioma and other life-threatening conditions. However, friends and family members are also at risk of coming into contact with the fibers, as asbestos is known to cling to fabrics and other materials.

American companies don’t intentionally use asbestos tape anymore, but it’s still possible to encounter the tape while working on older homes and buildings. Tape that remains in good condition can be covered up and left alone. However, old asbestos tape that is worn or damaged may be friable, putting workers at risk. People who work with any form of asbestos tape should take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.

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Compensation for treatment, loss of income and other damages are available through Asbestos Trust Funds. Mesothelioma patients exposed to asbestos in tape may qualify.

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Health Risks of Asbestos in Tape

Asbestos tape is harmless when left undisturbed. But as it deteriorates, asbestos tape can become dry and brittle. If asbestos tape is ripped, damaged or begins to fall apart, it becomes a dangerous material with potentially deadly side-effects, including mesothelioma.

When asbestos is disturbed, the tiny particles its comprised of become airborne and can be inadvertently inhaled or swallowed by anyone nearby. Once inside the body, spear-like asbestos fibers may become permanently lodged in the linings of the lungs, heart or abdomen, as the human body doesn’t have any natural mechanics for removing them.

Inhaled Asbestos Fibers Can Lead to Mesothelioma

Over time, asbestos fibers lodged in organ linings can trigger mutations in nearby healthy cells. Instead of remaining healthy, these tissue cells become cancerous mesothelioma cells, which divide and spread rapidly.

Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because the tumors grow and spread in thin layers, making them harder to detect than the clump-like tumors associated with other cancers. Additionally, mesothelioma symptoms have a delayed onset of 10-50 years after initial asbestos exposure, making it difficult for many patients to form any connection between their symptoms and their exposure long ago.

Other Asbestos-Related Diseases

Mesothelioma is the most aggressive disease linked to asbestos exposure, but it’s not the only one. People who use asbestos tape are also at risk of developing asbestosis and lung cancer.

Like mesothelioma, lung cancer forms when cells mutate. However, lung cancer tends to present itself as clump-like tumors. Because of how lung cancer forms, it’s typically easier to diagnose and treat than mesothelioma. Unfortunately, it can be just as deadly if left undetected for too long.

Asbestosis is a disease, which is caused by scarring of the lungs. Asbestos fibers that are inhaled or swallowed can irritate lung tissue, causing inflammation and irritation that may scar over time. The most common symptoms of asbestosis are respiratory issues, chest pain and a persistent cough.

Seeking Justice for Mesothelioma

If you’ve developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos tape, you aren’t alone. Many people have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other forms of cancer after working with asbestos products. While the health consequences can be severe, legal options can help eliminate some of the financial burdens of fighting mesothelioma.

To better understand your legal options after a mesothelioma diagnosis, contact our Justice Support team today at (888) 360-4215. Or request a FREE Mesothelioma Justice Guide for an in-depth look at the occupations and worksites that exposed workers to asbestos.

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Sources
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    https://www.haz-mat.ca/asbestos-removal/asbestos/duct-tape/ Accessed on October 11, 2018.
  2. Winnipeg Free Press, “ASK THE INSPECTOR: Asbestos tape can be covered, left alone,” Retrieved from
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  3. Energy Vanguard, “How Much Should You Worry About Asbestos in the Home?” Retrieved from
    https://www.energyvanguard.com/blog/77014/How-Much-Should-You-Worry-About-Asbestos-in-the-Home Accessed on October 11, 2018.
  4. Ehow, “How to Remove Asbestos Tape,” Retrieved from
    https://www.ehow.com/how_6512588_remove-asbestos-tape.html Accessed on October 11, 2018.
  5. On The House, “Reapit Asbestos Taping with Duct Tape,”
    https://www.onthehouse.com/repair-asbestos-taping-duct-tape/ Accessed on October 11, 2018.

Last modified: April 4, 2019