Asbestos is not only strong but is naturally resistant to fire and heat. This made it the perfect substance to use for insulation material as well as in dozens of other products. One of these insulating products is electric wiring insulation. At one time, it could be found in many places because nearly every bit of electric wiring needs to be protected with insulation, and asbestos was an extremely popular and inexpensive insulating material.
Starting around World War II, asbestos was frequently used in the construction and shipbuilding industries. A good part of electric wiring insulation was made with asbestos. General Electric sold a type of wiring insulated by asbestos felt under the brand name Deltabeston. Workers who did electric wiring and people who had this type of wire insulation throughout their homes may have been exposed to asbestos.
The asbestos fibers that are used to make the electric wiring insulation are very fine and can easily be breathed and since they are so small, they can get lodged in places like the lungs. This can result in mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. When the wiring insulation is in good condition, it poses little danger. However, once the material becomes damaged or frayed, it can release deadly fibers into the air. Homeowners performing renovation or rewiring projects on older buildings should proceed with extreme caution and consider having damaged wire insulation tested for the presence of asbestos.