Unusual Uses of Asbestos

Asbestos Sample Testing 1

Although widely acknowledged as a hazardous building material, there has been a multitude of unusual uses of asbestos throughout its history. Some may have practical foundations, whereas others seem more sublime. This article explores the variety of uses of asbestos throughout the centuries.

Beauty

Asbestos has previously been used in several health and beauty products for a variety of reasons. The thought of using this material in any personal care product is now astonishing, but in previous decades asbestos was used as an abrasion material in toothpaste as well as a heat protection layer in old style hairdryers. Asbestos has also been known to be used in make up manufacturing and products as well as fibres being used in talcum powder.

Household Items

Because of it’s heat and fire protective properties, asbestos was widely used in household items throughout the centuries. Previous uses have included: heat protection elements in irons, fibres were manufactured into wallpaper and paper lining, telephones and toilet cisterns and small elements were used to produce bleach and other cleaning products.

From the 1930s, asbestos was used to make fake snow and this was introduced into many houses by way of Christmas decorations. The product was even used in scenes of The Wizard of Oz and Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’.

Asbestos was often used in flooring options by way of providing backing, under flooring or for products such as linoleum.

Again, because of its fire retardancy, asbestos was used as wall paint for a number of years. Believed to be an innovation in safe household decoration, asbestos was marketed as an excellent option for renovating tired walls.

“From the 1930s, asbestos was used to make fake snow and this was introduced into many houses by way of Christmas decorations.”

Cigarettes

One of the most unusual uses of asbestos – from the 1950s, cigarette manufacturers sought to develop their products and increase their safety, which brought about the inclusion of asbestos! Asbestos was used in the filters of masses of cigarettes and was praised for it’s revolutionary health benefits.

Medical

Asbestos thread was widely used by doctors by way of stitching patients after operations. Due to the flexibility and strength of the thread, this product was considered to be an excellent choice for the medical industry. Somewhat ironically, one of the prime surgerys that this thread would be used in was that of lung operations following World War 2.

Ornamental

The first known uses of asbestos date back to around 2500 BC, when the material was used in the production of clay. The clay was used to make wares for the home such as bowls and pots. This practice continued throughout all major civilisations and including the manufacture of ornamental pieces and utensils.

Fashion

One of the most famous examples of an unusual use of asbestos relates to a young Benjamin Franklin. At the age of 19, Franklin travelled to England and carried with him an asbestos purse. Whilst in England, he sold the purse to a collector of natural history objects, Sir Hans Sloane. Sloane’s collection was later donated to the British Museum and the purse still resides there.

Whatever your asbestos needs, get in touch with Acorn today. Call us on 0844 818 0895.

(Calls Cost 6p per minute + your normal phone providers charges)

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

JANshutterstock 1381443422 sml

Weird locations and uses of asbestos

In this blog we’re looking at the weird and wonderful locations and uses of asbestos that we’ve come across. Asbestos was used everywhere and thousands of different materials had asbestos added to them. Kent cigarettes One example that springs to mind is the old American Kent cigarette brand which contained asbestos in their filter. The …

Read MoreWeird locations and uses of asbestos

Joe Gore 6 scaled e1609755591688

Focus on our Birmingham Office lead Joe Gore

Back in November we were thrilled to reveal we had launched a new office in Birmingham which is being expertly led by Asbestos Consultant Joe Gore. Joe has been incredibly busy working on a wide variety of projects across the West Midlands since then but we caught up with him to find out how he …

Read MoreFocus on our Birmingham Office lead Joe Gore

Acorn Analytical Services Asbestos Solutions commecial photography 55

Why you should use lockdown to deal with your asbestos

So here we are entering a New Year. Traditionally, a time for optimism and new beginnings but this week’s announcement of the latest national lockdown left many businesses reeling. Almost a year on from the first national lockdown you could be forgiven for thinking we’re living through some kind of strange Groundhog Day but the …

Read MoreWhy you should use lockdown to deal with your asbestos

Acorn Analytical Services Asbestos Solutions commecial photography 36

Don’t fall foul of the law – make sure you get the correct Asbestos Survey

At Acorn Analytical Services we invest a lot of time into making people aware about the dangers of asbestos for two key reasons. One is the human cost – exposure to asbestos can cause life-changing illnesses and incurable cancers – and the second reason is the cost it poses to businesses. It is so important …

Read MoreDon’t fall foul of the law – make sure you get the correct Asbestos Survey

Acorn Analytical Services Asbestos Solutions commecial photography 28

£2bn Government gold rush could be an asbestos minefield

This autumn, the Government launched a new scheme to promote home insulation. It is subsidising home insulation ventures with grants of up to £5,000 which can be used to install insulation, double glazing, smart controls and more. This is great news for the environment and for the economy however, we do have concerns about it. …

Read More£2bn Government gold rush could be an asbestos minefield

Collage e1608286815218

Fighting back against asbestos-related cancer

Acorn Analytical Services is backing a new campaign aimed at putting asbestos and asbestos-related diseases in the national spotlight to raise awareness and eradicate the material and the devastating conditions it causes. Campaign group, Action Meso, is uniting those impacted by mesothelioma – an incurable but preventable cancer caused by asbestos – to give them …

Read MoreFighting back against asbestos-related cancer

scientist 2141259 1920 e1607618409539

Don’t become an asbestos-related death statistic

Anyone who follows our activities at Acorn will know that we are dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers posed by asbestosis. We regularly release informative podcasts, blogs and have produced a number one best-selling book called Asbestos The Dark Arts to show businesses and individuals why it is so important to manage their asbestos …

Read MoreDon’t become an asbestos-related death statistic

birthday 1835443 1920

From small Acorns grow great asbestos management companies

Despite all the challenges that 2020 has thrown at us we are pleased to be ending the year on a high. It is with great pleasure that we can say this month Acorn Analytical Services has celebrated its 20th anniversary. The business first set down roots in the north of England two decades ago and …

Read MoreFrom small Acorns grow great asbestos management companies

WP 6441 Original 39554 scaled e1606141093410

Celebrate Your Unique Talent

Did you know every year November 24th is observed as Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day? No matter how unique or different your talent is, today is the day that you are encouraged to share it with others. Here at Acorn we aren’t shy about our talent. We are the leading experts when it comes to …

Read MoreCelebrate Your Unique Talent

JG Brum Small

Acorn Opens New Birmingham office!

We have some exciting news… We have expanded with the opening of a new Birmingham office! The new office is located on Bristol Road South and will be led by Joe Gore (pictured) and staffed by people from the Birmingham area. Not only will this new office help us to better service our existing clients …

Read MoreAcorn Opens New Birmingham office!