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What Has Asbestos Been Used For?

Asbestos has been used in hundreds of applications and products over the past 4,500 years. Until the 1980s, asbestos was used in office buildings, public buildings and schools. It insulated hot water heating systems, and was put into walls and ceilings as insulation against fire and sound. Asbestos has also been widely used in transportation and electrical appliances, frequently mixed with, and encased in, other materials. Asbestos has also been found in many products around the house.

It has been used in:

  • clapboard;
  • shingles and
  • felt for roofing;
  • exterior siding;
  • pipe and boiler covering;
  • compounds and cement, such as caulk, putty, roof patching, furnace cement and driveway coating;
  • wallboard;
  • textured and latex paints;
  • acoustical ceiling tiles and plaster;
  • vinyl floor tiles;
  • appliance wiring;
  • hair dryers;
  • irons and ironing board pads;
  • flame-resistant aprons and electric blankets;
  • clay pottery.
  • Loose-fill vermiculite insulation may contain traces of “amphibole” asbestos.

Some common applications include:
-Asbestos insulation: Used in office buildings, public buildings and schools to insulate against fire and sound.
-Asbestos siding: Used on homes and other buildings to prevent fire.
-Asbestos shingles: Used on roofs to prevent fire.
-Asbestos floor tiles: Often used in schools, hospitals, factories and other public places.
-Asbestos brake pads and linings: Used in cars and trucks to stop the car quickly.

However, concerns about the health risks of asbestos exposure have led to a ban on the use of asbestos in most applications. Today, asbestos is only allowed in a few specific products, such as automobile brake pads and clutch facings.

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