Asbestos and Plastic
Beginning in the 20th century, plastic products became extremely popular in the United States. Plastic was used to manufacture household items, automotive parts, and many other products. Unfortunately, U.S. plastic manufacturers frequently made plastic products with asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous mineral linked to severe and fatal diseases, such as:
- lung cancer
- esophageal, colon, stomach, or rectum cancer
Why Plastic Contains Asbestos
Polymers, or long chains of atoms bonded to one another, are combined with a fibrous binding agent to produce plastic. Asbestos fibers were frequently used as the binding agent for plastic because asbestos fibers are durable and flexible. Additionally, asbestos fibers made a good binding agent for plastic because asbestos fibers are heat resistant, inexpensive, and easily accessible.
Plastic Products made with Asbestos
Asbestos containing plastic products include:
- floor tiles
- toilet cisterns
- sink pads
- roofing Products
- acid proof coatings
- automobile door handles
Dangers of Asbestos Containing Plastic Products
Asbestos containing plastic products can be extremely dangerous if asbestos fibers are released from them and inhaled. Fortunately, asbestos containing plastic products are classified as non-friable, which means they will not release toxic asbestos fibers unless cut, damaged, or disturbed. Because plastic products do not decompose, they will not release asbestos fibers if left alone.
Plastic Workers and Asbestos Dangers
Workers who molded asbestos containing plastic products are at a high risk for developing asbestos-related illnesses. Until the 1980s, plastic molders constantly handled asbestos. Additionally, the plastic molding process released large amounts of asbestos fibers into the air and workplaces were often poorly ventilated. Because employers failed to warn plastic molders of the dangers of asbestos exposure, workers wore no protective clothing or respiratory equipment to prevent exposure. Consequently, many plastic molders inhaled toxic asbestos fibers.
Injured by Asbestos Exposure from Plastics
If you or a loved one has been injured by exposure to asbestos containing plastic products, please contact our asbestos attorneys today, as you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.