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Radios - Bendix, General Electric (GE), Magnavox, Philco, Philco-Ford, RCA, Sylvania, Zenith

Tube radios manufactured from the 1930s to the1960s often contained an asbestos insulating panel.  These asbestos fabric panels were used because of the heat resistance qualities of asbestos.  As radios generated so much heat in and around the power supply, an asbestos cloth shield was used to protect the wooden cabinet from the heat generated by the chassis.

Similar panels of asbestos may also be between other heat-generating components such as the rectifier and output tubes, dropper resistors, power transformer and the cabinet of heat-sensitive components. Vintage tube radios that may have contained these sheets of asbestos between the wooden cabinet and chassis include those manufactured by:

  • Bendix
  • General Electric (GE)
  • Magnavox
  • Philco
  • Philco-Ford
  • RCA
  • Sylvania
  • Zenith

Exposure to asbestos can occur if the asbestos insulating panel is handled, disturbed or removed.  Oftentimes repairmen of these radios used compressed air to clean out the chassis, which can also result in exposure to asbestos.  Dr. William Longo at MAS (Materials Analytical Services, Inc.) did a work practice study of a Zenith radio in September 2003 entitled Zenith Radio Dust Blowout Study.

In the study, as was common practice among radio and television repairmen, compressed air was used to blow out the electronics section when it was first opened, again when the chassis unit was removed and then a third time when the chassis was put back.  Testing of the asbestos insulating panel used in the particular Zenith radio in the study was found to contain 60% chrysotile asbestos.  The study concluded that a worker using compressed air to clean out the dust from the radio and chassis would receive a significant exposure to respirable asbestos fibers in his breathing zone.

Airborne asbestos is the most dangerous, as it can easily be inhaled or ingested into the body, lodging in the lining of the heart, abdomen or lungs.  Decades later, this then develops into mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos as a result of handling or being involved with Radios, and if you think such exposure may have caused you or your loved one to become ill with mesothelioma or any other form of asbestos related disease, please contact the lawyers at Clapper, Patti Schweizer & Mason for more information.