Asbestos has excellent fire-resistant properties. Throughout the centuries products containing asbestos were used for situations where fire was a risk. For example, asbestos was widely used in the manufacturing of flame-retardant blankets until it was discovered to be harmful to humans.
Fire blankets have been around for a long time. There are various sizes and uses for each one. If used as a safety device, a fire blanket will smother the fire and keep the flames from spreading. There are many household uses and commercial uses for these fire blankets. In places where the risk of fire is high, such as factories, large fire blankets are kept for emergencies. These larger blankets are designed to cover an entire person’s body in case their clothes catch fire. When fighting fires a firefighter will use these blankets to rescue victims from burning buildings. Fire blankets will extinguish the fire by starving it of oxygen.
Since asbestos was used for many years in this application, the blankets would start to decompose and release fibers. People who used these blankets on a regular basis, such as firefighters, became exposed to the harmful fibers. Over time many of these people developed symptoms and diseases we now know are associated with asbestos exposure. Some of these ailments are lung scarring, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Once the dangers of asbestos were recognized manufacturers switched from asbestos to fiberglass in manufacturing these blankets, but many people had already been exposed to a toxic substance that would eventually make them sick. It’s unfortunate that many manufacturers of these fire blankets knew early on that asbestos contained the above health risks, but did not inform either the employees or the consumers. If you believe you were a victim of asbestos exposure, you have the right to compensation.