Asbestos in Thermal Paper Products Exposure and Risks

Summary

Thermal paper was often used to insulate pipes, machine gaskets and in electrical insulation. It was also commonly used as a backing for fibreboard. Before the 1980s, a lot of thermal paper was made using asbestos. Over time, asbestos in thermal paper products begins to break down and can put workers at risk of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.

Asbestos in Thermal Paper Products Explained

Asbestos was often used in paper products as pipe insulation and insulation for machine parts. Engine gaskets, pumps, brakes and other types of machines were also usually made of asbestos-containing thermal paper.

To create the paper, asbestos fibers were mixed with water and then forced into a sheet. Once dry, these thin, lightweight, bendable and easy-to-cut sheets were the perfect material to wrap around pipes, electrical wires and more.

Asbestos was added to the sheets to protect against heat and fire, as it can withstand temperatures of up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Some boards contained 100% asbestos and were added as a lining to other products such as roofing felt, wall cladding or board linings.

Specific uses for thermal paper products included:

  • Electrical insulation
  • Air conditioning unit insulation
  • Floor tile backing
  • Pipe insulation
  • Pipe wrap
  • Combustible board lining

Thermal Paper Products Contained Chrysotile Asbestos

Thermal paper products primarily contained primarily chrysotile (white) asbestos, which is the most common form of asbestos used in the U.S. These long, thin fibers are almost 10,000 thinner than a single strand of hair and practically naked to the eye. They can remain airborne for a long time and circulate through a work site.

Until the 1980s the real risks of asbestos were not widely known. Disturbing or handling asbestos-containing paper releases fibers into the air, which put workers at a huge risk. Inhaling these asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

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Who Was Exposed to Asbestos in Thermal Paper Products?

Workers involved in the manufacturing of asbestos paper products would often be exposed to asbestos. Those who mixed the ingredients in factories to create asbestos paper would have been around high levels of asbestos fibers throughout their day-to-day work, as asbestos dust often resulted from the process.

Those who worked with those products on-site—such as fitting the paper around pipes—would also have been at risk of asbestos exposure. While the asbestos is relatively safe when intact, the workers would have to cut the asbestos sheets to size, which could result in excess dust. Many workers may not have been wearing face masks or other safety equipment at the time.

Workers exposed to asbestos could also have exposed their family members when they carried fibers home on their hair, shoes and clothing.

Access Asbestos Trust Funds

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

Find Out If You Qualify

Health Risks of Asbestos in Thermal Paper Products

Mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers become inhaled. Microscopic fibers embed themselves in the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen, irritating the surrounding healthy tissue. After years of irritation, healthy tissues mutate into cancerous ones, causing mesothelioma to form.

Mesothelioma Has a Long Latency Period

Mesothelioma can lay dormant for up to 50 years, which means many people have forgotten about their previous exposure and often don’t associate their symptoms with asbestos-related work.

Once mesothelioma symptoms show, the disease becomes aggressive and fast-spreading. Specialized treatment is required to improve prognosis and extend life expectancy. Anyone who has developed mesothelioma as a result of working with asbestos in thermal products should consult a mesothelioma specialist right away.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission outlawed asbestos thermal paper products in the 1980s, which means that any thermal paper made after this is likely asbestos-free. However, this is a danger to those who worked with the product prior to 1980. As mesothelioma can take decades to develop, there may be many workers out there who are yet to be diagnosed.

Seeking Justice for Mesothelioma

Those who worked with thermal paper products or their family members may have unknowingly come into contact with asbestos and may have since developed mesothelioma. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you have a history of working with asbestos products, you may be eligible for legal compensation.

Contact our Justice Support Team today to learn more about asbestos products and occupations and how you may have been exposed. Call us at (888) 360-4215 or request our FREE Mesothelioma Justice Guide to understand your next steps in seeking justice for mesothelioma.

View Author and Sources
Sources
  1. Asbestos paper insulation manufacture and types, 1962. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9CDqKC7DwI&feature=youtu.be. Accessed on October 14, 2018.
  2. Gallery 6 – Paper and Felts. Retrieved from:http://www.oracleasbestos.com/asbestos-pictures/gallery-6-paper-and-felts/. Accessed on October 14, 2018.

Last modified: October 30, 2018