Ductwork Connectors & Flexible Duct Connectors

Ductwork Connectors

Years Produced: 1838-1950s

Home and buildings come equipped with ducts that circulate air through pipes and channels. The circulated air provides heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Air system ductwork and machinery utilizes special connectors to reduce sound and movement within the duct system, known as ductwork connectors, flexible duct connectors and gaiters.

History of Asbestos Ductwork Connectors

At A Glance

  • Places Used: Everywhere
  • Toxicity: Company Names
  • Asbestos Use Banned: No
  • Friable: Not if intact

Asbestos ductwork systems were tested as early as 1938 with Johns Manville writing about their abilities in the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Journal. In 1951 the National Fire Protection Agency’s codes recommended flexible connections using asbestos just as air conditioning systems were starting to be popular and affordable for homes.

Flexible ductwork connectors look like thin strips of bendable material with a variety of sizes contingent upon the specific air system. Manufacturers often make this bendable material from canvas or woven cloth, which works to reduce the sounds of rattling and vibration. Flexible ductwork connectors withstand varying pressure conditions and connect duct joints through riveting to metal or clips.

During the mid-1940s and 1950s, manufactures used asbestos fiber in the material for ductwork connectors. Once damaged, these asbestos fibers can be emitted into air, impairing the health of those who have been in proximity or direct contact with connectors.

Exposed to an Asbestos-Containing Product?

Our Patient Advocates can answer your questions about asbestos exposure and help you find a top attorney.

Ductwork material possibly contaminated by asbestos includes:

  • Vinyl
  • Fiberglass
  • Corrugated paper
  • Flexible ducting
  • Metal
  • Plastic

Asbestos-containing ductwork in houses and buildings may exist in the following spaces:

  • Floor cavity
  • Vertical chases
  • Crawl space
  • Attached garage
  • Drop-down ceilings
  • Mechanical Rooms
  • Attic

Manufacturers of ductwork products contaminated with asbestos include Duro-dyne Corporation, Celotex Corporation, Nicolet, Inc., Grant Wilson, Inc., Fuller H. B. Company, Manville Corporation and Turner & Newall.


Workers may encounter asbestos fibers released into the air through actions such as repairing, cutting, tearing, installing, removing or disturbing ductwork connectors. Wear from time and temperature changes can deteriorate ductwork, causing fibers to become friable, or easily crumbled into dust or small particles.

Ductwork systems may contaminate the air by circulating disturbed asbestos fibers from connectors, endangering all occupants. Duct installers, sheet metal mechanics, construction workers, air ventilation repairmen, remodelers and homeowners may be exposed to duct connectors containing up to 50 percent chrysotile asbestos.


A number of people who worked with asbestos-contaminated ductwork developed diseases decades later and held the manufacturers liable in court. For example, Genaro Garcia was employed in the sheet metal industry, using Duro-Dyne's flex HVAC duct connectors and duct sealers, which contained asbestos. Garcia developed peritoneal mesothelioma, which required two years of chemotherapy before the cancer went into remission. In 2005, a San Francisco jury awarded Garcia nearly $2 million dollars in medical expenses and damages.

Timothy Hedgecorth encountered asbestos in duct insulation of a building that was remodeled by Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, owned by Union Pacific. Hedgecorth worked for a year in the building, around pipes and insulation in worn condition and while the ceiling was removed, dust covered the area. In 2000 Dr. Jill Ohar diagnosed Hedgecorth with asbestosis. In 2002 a court found Union Pacific responsible of for 80 percent of the damages, requiring them to pay $240,000,000.


Popular brands of asbestos-containing ductwork connectors include:

  • Duro-metal-fab
  • Econ-o-fab
  • Junior
  • Flexi duct
  • Carey duct
  • Conduit

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Matt Mauney is an award-winning journalist with nearly a decade of professional writing experience. He joined Asbestos.com in 2016, and he spends much of his time reading, analyzing and reporting on mesothelioma research articles to ensure people in the mesothelioma community know the latest medical advancements. Prior to joining Asbestos.com, Matt was a reporter at the Orlando Sentinel.

  1. Retropaper. Asbestos Literature. (2012 May 13). Retrieved from http://www.retropaper.net/RETROASBESTOS.html
  2. Crosby, J. What Every Lawyer Needs To Know And Have To Work in Asbestos Litigation. (2009 May 11). Retrieved from http://www.crosbylegal.com/
  3. SF Jury Finds Chrysotile Asbestos Causes Rare Peritoneal Mesothelioma. (2005 November 18). PR Web. Retrieved from http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/11/prweb312315.htm
  4. Missouri Court of Appeals. (2006 August 22). Hedgecorth versus Union Pacific Railroad Company. Retrieved from http://caselaw.findlaw.com/mo-court-of-appeals/1303071.html
  5. Maines, R. (1950). Asbestos and Fire. Rutgers University Press. Piscataway, NJ. Retrieved from : http://books.google.com/books?id=5r2jEGLvxP4C&pg=PA145&lpg=PA145&dq=hvac+asbestos+duct+insulation+flexible+connectors+ductwork+-law,+-lawsuit&source=bl&ots=8OH9F23fcW&sig=Vf6OyS26UJcnc_z3LqVHK_dc6fI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ASAHULC0Lo6y8ATFjs3wBw&ved=0CFEQ6AEwBjgy#v=onepage&q=ductwork&f=false

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