The holidays bring a lot of joy and festivity, but there are some dangers to be aware of when bringing out old household products for the chilly holiday season. We’ve all heard about hazards like Christmas lights getting too hot, or Christmas trees reaching a little too close to the fire but we rarely think about the potential dangers lurking in everyday, unassuming products.
That’s the all-too-common danger with asbestos, most people don’t think about it until it’s too late. This is where we come in; the Mesothelioma Center would like to help you stay safe by alerting you to which products contain asbestos. These are items that you might be using already or are getting more use out of this winter.
Be careful when you bust out those old electric blankets on chilly nights. Asbestos was used to insulate electric blankets many years ago because of the warmth and fire-resistance asbestos fibers provided. Asbestos was also a cheap material and was exceptionally durable, perfect for products like electric blankets that consumers expect to last many winters. If your electric blanket looks particularly worn or may be quite old, it’s probably best to replace it.
What you really don’t expect and may already have are asbestos-laced toys that used to be on the market. These include a CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit, three varieties of Ja-Ru Toy Clay distributed by Omnimodels, and Art Skills’ Clay Bucket. These toys were foreign-made imports previously sold through major U.S. retailers. They should not be on the shelves this hoilday season, but you and your children should be familiar with the products as to avoid contact.
Keeping decorations up where they belong can be a chore, and regular Scotch tape doesn’t always cut it. If your next step is duct tape, be careful. Asbestos was used in adhesive products throughout the 20th century because it created a strong bond to a variety of surfaces that could withstand extreme heat and fire. Unfortunately, tests as recent as 2007 found asbestos in 3M’s Scotch High Performance Duct Tape and 3M’s All Weather Duct Tape.
Building fires to ward off chilly nights can be a little dangerous. Gloves or mitts are a good option for playing it safe and avoiding injury. Many years ago, asbestos was used in these gloves for that exact reason, it is an insulator and is fire-resistant. If you happen to own a pair of older fireproof gloves, it may be wise to replace them, especially if they appear torn or worn down.
Able to resist extreme heat and flame, asbestos was used in small heating gadgets such as crock pots, hot plates and popcorn poppers to insulate mechanical wires and provide protection from heating elements. While the risk of asbestos exposure from popcorn poppers may be small, it does exist in older appliances.
The wires or cloth on any of these products can become frayed or damaged and may release hazardous asbestos fibers into the air. Once airborne, these fibers can be inhaled or ingested, putting the person at risk for exposure. Although it usually takes repeated exposure in an occupational setting for a person to be at risk of asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis or mesothelioma, you want to avoid any exposure no matter how small.
Be safe this holiday season. And be aware!