Many people remember clay as a childhood toy that was easily molded into whatever they imagined it to be. However, not all clay is as harmless as it seems. There are some forms of clay that might contain harmful asbestos.
The famous toy company Milton Bradley Co. had to recall their Fibro-Clay in 1983. This was a popular modeling compound used to make papier-mâché. Milton Bradley had manufactured the clay from the years 1967 to 1975 with asbestos as one of the ingredients. Schools that used the clay were instructed to stop using it and to place it in a sealed bag for disposal.
There have even been reports as recently as 2009 that a school in East Hartford, Connecticut, discovered that the clay they were using contained asbestos-contaminated talc. The clay was known as Nytal 100. Experts say that there still might be some schools that still use it despite the health hazards and concerns. The teachers who used this particular clay were advised to have chest x-rays taken as a precaution.
For health reasons, schools recommend that talc-free clay be used in order to prevent exposure. They also suggest that pre-mixed wet clays be used instead of the dry clays that need to be mixed with water. This will prevent inhaling the dry clay dust that might contain asbestos fibers. For clean up, it is suggested that a vacuum with a HEPA filter be used for any clay residue.
Other clay products that might contain asbestos are sealants or insulators for pipe joints. Those who have been exposed to asbestos clay products and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos related cancers may be eligible for compensation.