Asbestos was commonly found in all sorts of materials throughout the twentieth century. More than 3,000 products containing the fibers were used in the construction of commercial buildings, homes, schools and factories. The widespread use of asbestos is astounding: more than 30 million tons of the material was utilized between 1900 and 1980 alone.
Asbestos was often used to fireproof materials. It was frequently shaped into cords or ropes that served various functions. These cords made full use of the fibrous nature of asbestos, and they were commonly found in things like ironing board covers, oven mitts and fire blankets. Asbestos cord was also used to seal ovens, windows and numerous kitchen appliances like kettles and frying pans. In these applications, the asbestos cord was wrapped around the handles of the items to prevent burns.
From its discovery, asbestos was an easy choice for insulation and fireproofing. It is a naturally occurring and quite flexible mineral. It’s is made up of fibers, and when these fibers are inhaled, they can remain in the lungs for years, potentially causing lung diseases and cancer, specifically a very rare form of cancer called mesothelioma that affects the lining of chest and abdomen.
There are several different types of asbestos, including Chrysotile, Amosite and Crocidolite. It would be next to impossible to distinguish between these types upon sight, but all asbestos should be treated with caution. If any products containing asbestos are disturbed or damaged, they should be repaired by experts. If this is not possible, the asbestos should be removed, again by experts. Never under any circumstances should asbestos products be dismantled using power tools. This can cause the dangerous fibers to become airborne.
It can take up to 40 years for any symptoms of asbestos exposure to develop. In addition to lung cancer, mesothelioma, stomach cancer and rectal cancer, asbestos exposure can also cause asbestosis, which causes scarring in the lungs that can result in breathing issues and even heart failure.
Asbestos exposure is a serious matter. If you think you have been exposed to asbestos cord or any other product that might contain asbestos, you should seek the attention of a medical professional.