Throughout the 20th century, asbestos materials were found in a whole host of consumer, commercial and military products. Everything from cigarette filters to shingles contained deadly asbestos fibers. Generations of Americans were put in danger of serious illnesses, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, despite evidence that showed that the mineral could cause cancer.
Asbestos, which is a group of naturally occurring minerals, is composed of thin fibers. When these fibers are inhaled, serious medical problems can result. It can take as long as 50 or 60 years for these asbestos-related diseases to manifest themselves. At one point, asbestos was even liquefied and put into aerosol cans to be used as a sprayable insulator for pipes, furnaces and other household applications.
This vintage illustration was used to sell the product. It says, “Liquefied asbestos in handy pressurized cans for spraying on heating pipes, water pipes, above furnaces and around hot-air registers.” Keep in mind that although the man pictured is supposed to be spraying a known carcinogen, he is wearing no safety equipment, such as a mask or goggles.
Today, we know better than to work with asbestos without protection. Contractors who remove it from buildings are expensive to hire because of the precautions they have to take. Asbestos is treated the same as any other hazardous material, with procedures and products designed to limit the amount of fibers released into the air and prevent widespread exposure.
Despite the danger posed by these materials, asbestos is still legal here in the United States and used widely in many developing nations abroad. The consequences of asbestos use have been seen in people of all walks of life, and thousands have died in the United States alone from the ailments it causes.
Isn’t it time we end this deplorable industry with a full ban on asbestos?
Join our fight. Help us ban asbestos now.