Asbestos and asbestos containing products are no longer used in the home after being identified as a harmful and dangerous carcinogen in 1977 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Although it is no longer used in the manufacture of new products, asbestos was once a very common material used in the home, especially in kitchens where heat and fire are common risk factors.
Asbestos in the form of millboard was used in the manufacture of stove mats, which served to protect the stove or countertops from hot cookware. They were often made from a combination of asbestos and metal and placed on the stovetop. These stove mats were also used in commercial and industrial kitchens, so anyone who was employed by a restaurant or food-packaging plant may have been at risk for toxic exposure. Any damage or natural wear to the mats could cause asbestos fibers to be released. Exposure and inhalation can lead to many asbestos related diseases.
Some of the manufacturers who made products were aware of the risk of toxic exposure related to asbestos, yet they continued to manufacture products that were sold to unsuspecting consumers, until the issuance of warning labels by the CPSC in 1977. Regular use of asbestos containing products can lead to mesothelioma.
After the CPSC’s warnings were mandated in 1977, a follow up was issued in 1980. The CPSC required 1200 U.S. companies to provide detailed information regarding the manufacture, sale and use of asbestos containing products being sold to consumers.
Since this event in 1980, companies are no longer using asbestos in the common household goods that are used around the home. However, there is still a chance of exposure if products that were manufactured before 1980 still exist within a home. If these products are present in the home, they should be properly disposed of properly.