Asbestos has a very extensive history of use as a fire prevention substance and builders and product developers in the United States used the substance for many years, not realizing the serious health hazard that asbestos represents. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral with fire-resistant qualities. When inhaled, the particles can cause a serious form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma, first identified in American medical literature in 1931. Medical researchers did not link mesothelioma to asbestos exposure until the 1940s.

Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, asbestos was an incredibly common material used in a wide variety of commercial applications. Once the dangers of asbestos became apparent, there were widespread efforts to remove asbestos or render it harmless to people nearby. However, there is still a risk of asbestos-related illness from old appliances, old buildings, and old consumer products. Additionally, asbestos is a component in some common household products you can find in stores today.

Products Made With Asbestos

According to the National Cancer Institute there are still more than 5,000 consumer products available today that contain asbestos. When these products remain in working order, the asbestos within them is harmless to users. However, users may face asbestos exposure when handling or repairing these items, or when these items sustain damage and release asbestos particles into the air.

There are many household products that contain asbestos available today:

  • Hair dryers
  • Electric blankets
  • Fireproof gloves
  • Portable heaters
  • Portable dishwashers
  • Wood-burning stoves
  • Decorative fireplace logs
  • Crayons
  • Burner pads
  • Products made with talc, including cosmetics, feminine hygiene products, and even baby powders.
  • Vermiculite garden products

Although the United States heavily regulates the use of asbestos and sale of products containing asbestos, not every country does so. Ordering products from other countries over the internet or purchasing them while traveling can be hazardous since many countries do not have the same asbestos laws as the United States.

Handling Products Made With Asbestos

If you know you own any products that include asbestos, those products should include clear warnings and thorough instructions for use. If a consumer product poses any type of threat to a user through normal use, or there are any associated risks of using the product, the manufacturer has a legal duty to warn the consumer of these issues. For example, if you purchase fireproof gloves made with asbestos to use with your grill or oven, the included instructions or user manual should have a clear warning that the product contains asbestos and a consumer should discontinue use of the gloves immediately if they become frayed or torn as this type of damage can expose the asbestos fibers.

Consumers can protect themselves from asbestos exposure by paying close attention to the ingredients of a consumer product and doing careful research on any purchase of a product that may contain asbestos. If a product contains asbestos, such as a gardening product that the user must manually spread in a garden patch, wearing protective clothing, gloves, eyewear, and a face mask can limit exposure to asbestos particles that may enter the air around the area.

Mesothelioma rarely manifests early into asbestos exposure; most cases appear 15 to 30 years after consistent exposure for an extended time. However, it is still possible for a consumer to suffer asbestos-related illness from exposure to asbestos in consumer products. When this occurs, the affected consumer should contact a reliable product liability attorney to discuss any potential legal options against the manufacturer. If a manufacturer failed to include required safety warnings, instructions for use, or any other required asbestos-related notifications to the consumer, the manufacturer may be liable for a product liability claim from an injured consumer.