Namely, its fire resistance, temperature resistance, chemical resistance, durability, flexibility and other characteristics all made it popular for use in the following industries and products.
Asbestos in Construction
Modern building materials like drywall and fiberglass insulation were developed using techniques pioneered originally for asbestos use.
Just like their modern counterparts, asbestos construction materials were cheap, durable, lightweight and could offer scientific benefits that many buildings lacked at the time.
For instance, asbestos insulation created much more stable temperatures indoors and asbestos fireproofing lowered the 10,000 annual U.S. deaths that occurred from fires before 1950.
Common uses of asbestos in construction included:
- Asbestos concrete
- Asbestos concrete drywall boards
- Asbestos insulation
- Construction adhesives
- Drywall taping compounds
- Loose fill (attic) insulation
- Ductwork connections
- Gunning mix and mastics mix
- Linoleum tiles
Asbestos in Plumbing and Utilities
One of the landmark uses of asbestos was in the creation of asbestos concrete pipes and asbestos piping insulation for use in large commercial buildings as well as public utility service lines.
The affordability of asbestos cement and the insulating, fireproofing qualities of insulation allowed for greater efficiency in service lines.
Asbestos in Consumer Goods
The consumer manufacturing industry surged after WWII, thanks in no small part to asbestos-containing products that lowered the costs of mass manufacturing and made synthetic materials cheaper and more stable.
These products included:
- Vinyl goods
- Fireproofing materials
- Oven mitts
- Fume hoods
- Clothes, textiles, and garments
- Cigarette filters
- Appliance insulation
Asbestos in Cars
The automotive industry benefitted greatly from the development of asbestos-containing products that took advantage of the material’s durability and heat resistance.
With them, we may not have had products like these until much later:
- Brake pads and liners
- Hood liners
Asbestos in Shipbuilding
Ship fires were a common problem without many solutions until asbestos insulation and fireproofing materials came along.
Shipyards in the U.S. launched around three warships a day during World War II and consumed about 25 million tons of asbestos.
Common uses of asbestos in shipbuilding included:
- Fireproofing lining
- Heat-resistant paints
- Steam pipe insulation
- Insulating mud
- Block insulation
- Spray insulation