Products that contained asbestos were heavily used through a large part of the 20th century. One area in which their use was prominent was insulation for pipes used for heating and air conditioning, including a popular insulation called duplex pipe covering.
This product was made with rolled asbestos paper. It had a honeycomb pattern that allowed for more space between the two layers of wrappers. Its purpose was to wrap the outside of hot water pipes and heating pipes so that the wood around them would be protected from the heat. Although restricted in the U.S. now, this type of insulation was used in the construction of both office buildings and residential areas well into the 1970s.
The people who installed insulation were often called asbestos workers since most insulation contained asbestos. Constructions workers and pipe fitters especially were exposed to asbestos since they were always in close contact with insulation like duplex pipe covering. As a result, they may have inhaled asbestos fibers when they got into the air. Inhaling these fibers or ingesting them in other ways can lead to a rare and serious cancer called mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs and other organs.