For more than 50 years, asbestos was used as an insulator in industrial, commercial and residential construction projects. Over the past 20 to 30 years, asbestos and any products that contain asbestos have been banned for use in a number of countries, including Great Britain and Australia. In the United States, however, the ban only applied to the manufacturing of new materials. Stores of old asbestos filled materials were used throughout the 1980s. Certain products are still allowed to contain small amounts of asbestos.
Boilers are appliances that see a lot of use over time. The large size of their heating surfaces leads to the potential for heat loss through conduction into the surrounding air, resulting in excessive energy consumption and, ultimately, high heating costs. For this reason, it is important that boilers be surrounded by some type of insulation to retain heat. Asbestos, with its heat-resistant properties and low cost, was used for years as a component in this insulation.
There is a good chance that millions of homes across the United States have some kind of asbestos contamination. Asbestos has been used to insulate homes and boilers in millions of homes. The asbestos insulation is very effective, but is very unsafe. Manufacturers and installers that use this type of insulation around a boiler are negligent and have put homeowners at an increased risk of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos boiler insulation is generally safe if the protective canvas layer and coating agent are intact. However, if this layer is torn or damaged, millions of asbestos fibers may be released into the air. The fibers can make it difficult to breath due to lung scarring that occurs once the fibers are inhaled. The inhaled fibers can cause irreparable damage to the internal organs of the human body. The fibers can cause a type of cancer known as mesothelioma.