Until the mid-1970’s, asbestos was frequently used in many consumer and commercial products. But when the serious implications of both limited and prolonged exposure came to light, heavy scrutiny was placed on the manufacturers of these products and certain regulations were put into place.
One product that fell into this category was corrugated paper. Since asbestos is fire retardant, it was regularly used in paper product, specifically those used in the construction and insulation businesses. Corrugated paper was utilized for a wide variety of purposes in the building of homes and offices. It would most likely be found in the thermal insulation of pipe coverings and hot water lines as well as the fireproofing around stoves and fireplaces. It could also be located within the walls.
In the mid- to late 80’s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attempted to ban materials in which at least one percent of content was made from asbestos. Companies that manufactured these products sued to have this regulation overturned. The ban was reduced but still restricted the manufacturing, importing and distribution of corrugated paper with asbestos in one or more of its layers. Although additional use of this asbestos-lined paper product is prohibited, it was so commonplace that many items found in older homes still contain this hazardous material.
The use of corrugated paper was not exclusive to home construction. It was used in the production of hot mats and trivets as well as the backings found on a wide array of consumer goods. It could also be found in a number of everyday home appliances. The chances of finding everyday items that contain corrugated paper, and in turn, asbestos, is quite great. But as with anything that contains asbestos, if left undisturbed and in good condition, the health hazards are virtually nonexistent. Only when something containing asbestos becomes broken or frayed is there any real danger of inhalation. That being said, paper products that contain asbestos, much like corrugated paper, are more liable to pose a problem as their tendency to deteriorate is far greater than that of other asbestos products. If someone suspects that the corrugated paper in their home may contain asbestos, a professional should be brought in to inspect and dispose of any such material.