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Industrial and Construction Products Containing Asbestos

Thousands of construction, fireproofing and industrial materials used in the manufacturing and building industries contained asbestos until the use of asbestos became regulated in the early 1980s. For example, corrugated sheets are commonly used to protect boilers, furnaces and other industrial equipment. They were historically made with asbestos because of its ability to withstand high temperatures. Many electrical components manufactured before 1980 that used phenolic resin also contained asbestos, putting electricians and other tradespersons who work with electrical parts at risk for asbestos exposure.

Even today, asbestos is not banned and is still used widely for certain applications. The 2001 Mineral Commodity Summary for Asbestos from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that 61% of the asbestos used in the United States in 2000 was in roofing products, 19% in friction products, 13% in gaskets, and 7% was classified as “other."

The Environmental Working Group points out that the most notorious asbestos building product is vermiculite attic insulation from the vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana. The mine’s asbestos contaminated vermiculite was shipped around the country and processed into attic insulation and other products through 1992. The EPA estimates that 30 million homes and buildings have asbestos (vermiculite) attic insulation. When this insulation is disturbed during building repair, remodeling, renovation, or damage, it can produce significant asbestos exposure.

image of navy shipIn addition to asbestos being used in many construction and industrial products, it was also extensively used in shipyards and planes, aboard Navy vessels and aircraft carriers, on bases, and throughout every branch of the military. In fact, veterans are one of the most at-risk groups for mesothelioma and have high rates of contracting this type of cancer. To read more about asbestos exposure for Veterans and military personnel, please click here.

Partial List of Asbestos-Containing Construction and Industrial Products