Nearly 3,000 products that were created and marketed from 1990 to 1980 contained asbestos. These products were used in construction, renovation, maintenance, and insulation of homes and other buildings. Asbestos was mixed into a variety of products including cork covering, cork board, and corrugated paper.
Companies such as Anderson LT manufactured cork covering to insulate pipes and other surfaces exposed to extreme temperatures. The asbestos that was added to the cork increased the resistance to heat and fire. Cork covering was also used for low temperature insulation, such as for refrigeration and coolant pipes.
Installation workers were heavily in contact with asbestos, which made it one of the most hazardous occupations in relation to asbestos exposure. Every part of their work released asbestos into the air, which could then be inhaled. Many installation workers today understand that asbestos is a hazardous material that they may come into contact with through the old asbestos filled cork insulation. Before the 1970s, however, most workers did not know the dangers of handling and using this toxic material.
People who worked with cork covering for insulation were often required to measure and cut the cork covering to fit where it was needed, as well as stretching the material to fit over the pipe. The insulation would then need to be attached to the pipes with staples, wire bands, glue, or tape. The worker then covered and secured the insulation in place, sometimes also installing sheet metal around the pipes. If an installer worked with cork covering, he or she might also have operated a blower machine with asbestos-filled insulation to spray that insulation into walls or attics or removed insulation that was old. All of these activities could potentially release deadly asbestos fibers into the air. Additionally, since these things are done indoors, the possibility of inhaling these fibers is greatly increased.