While most news reports highlight asbestos exposure as it relates to at-risk occupations such as heavy industry and construction work, it is not uncommon for individuals to suffer deadly exposure in the comfort of their own homes. Even though this could mean the construction materials such as roofing, siding, tile or pipes, there are numerous consumer products that could ultimately prove just as dangerous.
Even in the home, individuals turn a cautious eye toward materials as potential asbestos exposure risks. Due to the naturally heat and fire-resistant properties of the mineral, asbestos was used in numerous products such as caulking, furnace seals, asphalt, shingles, ceiling tiles, drywall, putty and attic insulation. While these products present a serious hazard, consumers could face exposure from unexpected sources, including:
- Large appliances: From stoves and dryers to water heaters and refrigerators, many large kitchen appliances contain heating elements and electrical components. Historically, manufacturers would have relied on the heat and fire-resistant properties of asbestos to keep consumers safe.
- Small appliances: Smaller kitchen appliances could last for decades – stashed away in a cabinet to only be used on occasion. While some items such as a toaster could see daily use, a crock pot might only be used a couple times a year. It was not uncommon to manufacture these appliances using asbestos as the primary line of defense between extreme heat and consumers.
- Beauty products: Since asbestos is often mined in close proximity to talc, it is not uncommon for make-up and powder products to be cross-contaminated.
Essentially, any product that was designed and built to withstand extreme heat could potentially contain asbestos. From waffle irons to hair dryers, consumers must be aware of the danger they face due to asbestos exposure.