That sticky gray tape that everyone has come to know and love got its name from its very practical function; Duct tape was intended to be used for taping various kinds of ducts, especially those used for heating. The tape keeps excess heat from escaping, making it a money-saving and useful product. Duct tape has gone on to become a trendy home product with thousands of uses. It comes in all colors, sizes, and different levels of quality. Its predecessor, on the other hand, had the potential to be quite dangerous. Before duct tape, builders used a deadly, cancer-causing product to do the same job – asbestos tape.
Asbestos tape had a number of practical uses. It was commonly used by electricians to seal or create a strong electrical connection, and it was used prevalently for ductwork and steam pipes. Today, asbestos tape is still commonly manufactured and sold in countries such as China . The varieties produced today are called dust-free tapes, meaning that they create minimal exposure to hazardous materials. Old asbestos tape is typically white in color and contains intricately woven fibers. Many homeowners may find this type of tape in their basements around old furnaces and ducts. The first choice replacement for asbestos tape is generally duct tape.
Asbestos tape can present a significant danger if it is not handled by a professional. It is also important to consider that the disposal of old asbestos tape requires a specific process, done at an approved disposal facility. Removing or replacing it should be done by an asbestos removal company. As it deteriorates, asbestos tape can become dry and brittle, allowing for the toxic fibers to become airborne.
The tape is not dangerous unless the fibers become airborne, and when dealing with older houses and ductwork, it has the potential to be very dangerous. Exposure to just a tiny bit could cause serious damage to the lungs, and set the stage for a battle with cancer. Another option for protection from old and damaged asbestos tape is to have a professional seal it with a special paint that will trap all the dangerous fibers and prevent them from becoming airborne. On the other hand, if the asbestos tape appears to be in good condition, it will present no immediate danger and should be left alone. The product was intended to be resilient, and can endure a great deal of wear and tear prior to becoming dangerous. Consulting with a professional on questions about asbestos tape is always advisable.