Asbestos Exposure

Learn About Mesothelioma
Case Evaluation Form


What is Asbestos?


Asbestos is a naturally occurring toxic mineral that was commonly used throughout the 20th century because of its natural resistance to heat and fire. The mineral was often used in insulation and asbestos fibers were frequently mixed with cement and woven into fabrics. Asbestos exposure can result in the development of serious illnesses such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.


How was I exposed to asbestos?


Since its creation, asbestos has been used in a variety of different ways by a number of occupations. Many of the people who worked in these various occupations have contracted a range of different health problems from their asbestos exposure. There are several different ways a person can come into contact with asbestos. Some people directly worked with asbestos, some lived with a spouse or parent who worked with asbestos, and some were exposed in their workplace without even knowing it.

            Workers from practically all trades were involved with asbestos, even those that worked in the unlikeliest of professions. Asbestos was used in a variety of different products and was largely found in shipyardspower plantschemical plants, factories, steel mills, building construction, and the telephone industry. Some of the occupations that commonly came in contact with asbestos include:


Military service

All ships built by the Navy before the mid-70s were filled with asbestos-containing materials. These materials were extensively used in engine & boiler rooms and other areas including mess halls, sleeping quarters, and navigation rooms. Products such as cables, gaskets, valves, adhesives and many others also contained asbestos. Other military service members could be exposed from asbestos in their living quarters, duties or because the people around them worked with asbestos. This also includes shipyard workers, longshoremen, reservists and merchant mariners.

Asbestos textile mills

Protective clothing and glove makers came in contact with asbestos while they wove it into cloth.

Automobile manufacturing or repair work

Brake and clutch manufacturers and assembly workers including automobile mechanics and brake repairers, used asbestos on brake linings and clutch pads.


Building engineers, building material products manufacturers, cement plant production workers, and construction workers all worked with asbestos-related products. This includes demolition and wrecking crews were at risk when they destroyed buildings that used asbestos as insulation.


Electrical workers, including electricians, electrical linemen, and telephone linemen came in contact with asbestos insulation around electrical products.

Other industrial workers

Custodians, insulation manufacturing plant workers, pipefitters, machinists, insulators, packing and gasket manufacturing plant workers, and powerhouse workers all came in contact with asbestos. Railroad workers, sheet metal workers, steamfitters, refinery workers, rubber workers, refractory products plant workers, and warehouse workers also worked with asbestos on a daily basis.



Products Containing Asbestos


In the late 19th century, the use of asbestos became popular in the construction and manufacturing industries due to the mineral’s highly versatile, durable, flexible and relatively inexpensive nature. The superior insulating properties of asbestos fibers offered manufacturers a way to strengthen buildings and products and protect them from fire and heat, without adding much weight or cost.

Until the late 1970s, asbestos was used in thousands of products, including household items, construction materials, paper goods, protective clothing, engines, automobiles and heating and cooling systems. Millions of homes, office buildings, military vessels and factories contained asbestos-laden products for many years, before the risks associated with asbestos fibers were made known.

There are currently hundreds, if not thousands, of products and construction materials in use today that may contain asbestos. It is important to be aware of the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and other life threatening conditions associated with the inhalation or ingestion of airborne asbestos fibers. There are too many products to list here, but some of the products include:



Asbestos Mitts, Asbestos Mittens & Glassblower Mitts

Asbestos Tiles, Ceiling Tiles & Floor Tiles

Fireproofing Materials

Asbestos Gloves

Asbestos Spackle, Plaster, Spackle Compounds

Vinyl Products

Fume Hoods & Laboratory Hoods

Rope & Rope Packing Material

Electrical Cloth & Electrical Panel Partition

Textile Cloths & Textile Garments

Crock Pots, Popcorn Poppers, Stove Mats & Pads

Fertilizer & Potting Mixtures

Fire Prevention Materials

Corrugated Paper & Thermal Paper Products

Generators, Turbines & Pumps

Baby Powder and Hair Dryers

Cigarette Filters


Marine Panels and Navy Sealer

Sheet Packing and Sheet Rope

Asbestos in Clay



Glassbestos and Asbestos Micarta

Silicate Calsilite

Asbestos Valve Insulation Jackets & ASB Weatherproof Jackets

Agricultural Filler

Asbestos Cord

Asbestos Wick

Cooling Towers

Caulking & Putties



Roofing Materials

Welding Materials

Brick, Block Mortar, Masonry Fill & Bonding Cement

Joint Compound & Dry Mix Joint Compound

Textured Coatings & Paints

Vermiculite Compounds

Corkboard, Cork-Covering & Cork-filled Mastic

Ehret Block & Pipe Covering

Ductwork Connectors & Flexible Duct Connectors

Patching Fiber, Patching Plaster & Wood Fiber Plaster

Acoustical Plaster, Decorative Plaster, Acoustic Finishes & Troweled Coating

Flat Board, Millboard, Panels & Cement Wall Board

Asbestos Spray-Applied Insulation & Thermal Spray

Asbestos Lap Siding

Duplex Block, Duplex Pipe Covering, Pipe Covering and Air Cell Pipe Covering

Asbestos Sheets, Gold Bond Sheets, Asbestos Cement, Gold Bond Cement

Paper & Gold Bond Paper

Permaboard, Rollboard and Flex Board

Sheetrock and Taping Compounds

Stone Corrugated Sheets & Stone Sheathing

Seals, Sheets & Sponge Block

Adhesives and Gold Bond Adhesives

Asbestos Tar Paper & Gold Bond Tar Paper

Base Flashing & Asbestos Felt Base

Construction Mastics & Gunning Mix

Wallboard Plaster & Gold Bond Perfo-Lyte

HVAC Ductwork Insulation, Heat Guards & Heating Ducts

Boiler Wall Coat & Expansion Joint

Floor Backing & Drywall Taping Compounds

Asbestos Tape

Gasket Material & Heat Seals

Valves, Valve Stem Packing & Valve Rings

Brakes, Clutches, Hood liners & Elevator Brake Shoes




What is the law?


Health and safety regulations concerning the use of asbestos in products began to be surface in the 1970s and 80s. In December 1977, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of asbestos-containing patching compounds and artificial fireplace ash products.

More than a decade later, on July 12, 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a ban of most asbestos-containing products, but this ruling was overturned just two years later by a New Orleans court. Currently, the 1989 EPA ban affects only flooring felt, rollboard and certain types of papers that contain asbestos.

Due to the severe health hazards associated with asbestos, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued bans on certain asbestos products. Asbestos is no longer used as a reinforcing fiber in construction materials, appliances and other household materials.

Banned products fall under two federal laws, which include: the Clean Air Act, including the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Toxic Substances Control Act

Some consumer products have also been banned by the Consumer Safety Product Commission. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also set limits stating that during an eight-hour time period or a 40-hour work week, no more than 100,000 airborne fibers may be present in a workplace in order to minimize occupational asbestos exposure.


Banned Products


The EPA banned most asbestos-containing products in 1989 under the “Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule,” but the ruling was appealed by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans soon after the approval. Due to the court’s ruling, certain asbestos materials andasbestos products remain unbanned in the United States. Under the Clean Air Act, the following asbestos-containing products have been banned:

According to the Toxic Substances Control Act, the following asbestos products are currently banned:

  • Flooring felt
  • Rollboard
  • Corrugated paper
  • Commercial paper
  • Specialty paper

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has also issued bans for textured paint and wallpatching compounds. The regulations also apply to new uses of asbestos, or the use of asbestos in products that did not typically contain asbestos in the past.

The spraying of materials containing more than 1 percent asbestos is also prohibited from being applied to buildings, structures, conduits or pipes unless it is bound properly in a binder material.


Products Not Subject to a Ban


The following products are not subject to the 1989 Toxic Substances and Control Act and are not considered to be banned in the U.S.:

  • Corrugated cement sheeting
  • Cement sheets
  • Asbestos clothing
  • Pipeline wrap
  • Roofing felt
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Cement shingles
  • Millboard
  • Cement pipes
  • Disc brake pads
  • Roof coatings
  • Automatic transmission components
  • Clutch facings
  • Non-roofing coatings
  • Brake blocks
  • Gaskets

Although these materials are not currently subject to a federal ban, if the materials become friable, or easily crumbled by hand, they may pose a health hazard. If asbestos-containing materials become frayed, broken or torn, contact a licensed asbestos contractor for the safe removal or encapsulation of these products.