Asbestos-Containing Insulation Products in Kentucky and Surrounding Areas
If asbestos fibers weren’t good insulation, they probably would’ve been used in far fewer products. Asbestos is an excellent insulator and is fire-resistant as well. During its peak use, asbestos was readily available and inexpensive too. Thanks to all these qualities, many thousands of people were exposed to cancer-causing asbestos fibers directly or indirectly thanks to insulation products.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber. It’s been used for centuries in thousands of products worldwide, many used to insulate machinery, pipes, and various types of equipment.
Why Was Asbestos Used in Insulation?
The fibers have exceptional fire- and heat-resistant properties. The mineral’s unique physical characteristics made it an ideal choice for insulating materials in various industries and applications. Some of the key reasons asbestos was used in insulation include:
- Heat resistance: Asbestos has excellent heat-insulating properties. It could effectively reduce heat transfer, helping to maintain stable temperatures in buildings, equipment, and industrial processes. As a result, asbestos-containing insulation was commonly used in ships, power plants, refineries, HVAC systems, and industrial machinery
- Fire resistance: Asbestos is highly fire-resistant, and it can withstand extremely high temperatures without burning, smoldering, or melting. This property made it valuable for insulating materials used in high-heat areas, such as boilers, furnaces, and pipes. Asbestos insulation helped prevent fires and contained heat within these systems
- Durability and longevity: Asbestos fibers are exceptionally strong. Asbestos-containing insulation was known for its durability and long lifespan. It could resist wear and tear, weathering, and degradation over time, making it a cost-effective choice for insulation applications that require longevity
- Versatility: Asbestos could be easily mixed with other materials, such as cement, to create different forms of insulation, such as thermal boards, pipe coverings, and spray-on insulation. This versatility allowed manufacturers to produce a wide range of insulation products tailored to specific needs
- Cost-effectiveness: Before the health risks of asbestos became widely known, it was relatively inexpensive compared to alternative insulation materials. This affordability made it a popular choice for insulation in various industries and building construction
- Sound absorption: Asbestos-containing insulation materials have excellent sound-absorbing properties, making them helpful in reducing noise levels in buildings and machinery
One of the first known asbestos products is asbestos-containing cloth used by the ancient Greeks to protect users against heat and to prevent fires.
What Types of Insulation Used Asbestos?
Some insulation types that commonly contain asbestos include:
- Asbestos-containing thermal insulation: Asbestos was mixed with other materials, such as cement, to create thermal insulation for pipes, boilers, furnaces, and other high-temperature equipment. Thermal insulation could also be formed with paper containing asbestos. These insulation materials were commonly used in industrial settings, ships, power plants, commercial buildings, and even residential properties
- Asbestos-containing loose-fill insulation: Loose-fill asbestos insulation was used to insulate attics and walls. It consisted of tiny loose fibers of asbestos mixed with other substances. Vermiculite insulation, which may contain asbestos, was used in some residential properties
- Asbestos-containing insulation board: Insulation boards containing asbestos were utilized in ceilings, walls, and other parts of buildings for thermal and acoustic insulation. These boards were commonly used in construction from the 1920s to the 1970s
- Asbestos-containing pipe insulation: Asbestos was frequently used to insulate pipes in buildings to prevent heat loss and protect against fire hazards. The lines could be extremely hot with pressurized steam or cold because they were part of an air conditioning system
- Asbestos-containing duct insulation: Asbestos-containing products were used to insulate Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment and ductwork, particularly in older buildings
One reason why asbestos was widely used in insulation was that the asbestos industry prevented the publication of studies showing that the fibers caused severe breathing problems and cancers. While they knew their employees were suffering severe health problems due to inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers, they marketed its use in more and more products, causing far more deaths and injuries.
Why is Asbestos Hazardous?
Asbestos is dangerous because of the health risks posed by its microscopic fibers. Asbestos-containing materials can deteriorate over time, releasing fibers. They can also enter the air when insulation products are installed, disturbed, damaged, or removed. Inhaled or swallowed fibers can cause severe and sometimes fatal health conditions.
Here are the key reasons why asbestos is hazardous:
- Carcinogenic properties: Asbestos is classified as a known human carcinogen by leading health organizations, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to the development of various types of cancer, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive malignancy affecting the lining of the chest and abdominal cavities, as well as organs, including the lungs, colon, and heart
- Respiratory diseases: Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause non-cancerous respiratory diseases such as asbestosis and pleural disease. Asbestosis is a chronic condition causing scarring of lung tissue, which leads to breathing difficulties and reduced lung function. Pleural disease involves thickening and inflammation of the pleura, the lining surrounding the lungs, which can lead to breathing problems and chest pain
- Latency period: One of the most dangerous aspects of asbestos-related diseases is their long latency period. It may take decades after exposure for symptoms to appear and for conditions to be diagnosed. This means that individuals exposed to asbestos many years ago may still develop asbestos-related diseases today, even though they are no longer in direct contact with the material.
- Secondary exposure risks: People who are not directly involved in handling asbestos but are exposed to asbestos fibers brought home by others, such as workers exposed on the job, may also be at risk. This is known as secondary exposure and can affect family members and others living with those handling asbestos.
- No safe level of exposure: Unlike many other hazardous substances, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Even brief or low-level exposure to asbestos fibers can potentially lead to health problems over time
- Widespread use in the past: Asbestos was widely used in various industries and applications before its health risks were fully understood. Many older buildings and products may still contain asbestos, posing a threat to occupants, workers, and individuals involved in renovation or demolition
Because asbestos exposure carries severe health risks, most countries have heavily restricted or banned its use. Asbestos-containing insulation products may still exist in many facilities, so they still pose a danger.
Proper removal is expensive and time-consuming, so some property owners walk away from buildings with asbestos, leaving others to deal with toxic, abandoned buildings.
Call Us Today For A Free Mesothelioma Lawsuit Consultation
If you or a loved one has an asbestos-related disease because you installed, repaired, or removed asbestos-containing insulation, worked around insulators, or your spouse or family member came home from work with asbestos on their clothes, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm you suffer.
We will fight hard to protect your interests and legal rights. To reach our Louisville office, call toll-free at 855-385-9532. You may also set up a free initial consultation by completing our online contact form.