Gallery 4 – Asbestos Textiles

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Asbestos Ropes Yarns & Strings

Location / Use: Used as lagging on pipes, jointing and packing materials and as heat / fire resistant boiler, oven and flue sealing. Caulking in brickwork. Plaited asbestos tubing in electrical cable. Asbestos string was widely used for sealing hot water radiators.

Asbestos Content and Type / Date Last Used: Crocidolite (blue) and chrysotile white asbestos were widely used due to length and flexibility of fibres. Other types of asbestos have occasionally been used in the past. Chrysotile (white) asbestos alone since at least 1970. Asbestos content approaching 100% unless combined with other fibres.

Ease of Fibre Release and Product Names: Weaving reduces the fibre release from products, but abrading or cutting the materials will release fibres, likely to degrade if exposed, becoming more friable with age. If used with caulking, fibres will be encapsulated and less likely to be released.

Asbestos Cloth

Location / Use: Thermal insulation and lagging, including fire resistant blankets, mattresses and protective curtains, gloves, aprons, overalls, etc were sometimes aluminised to reflect heat.

Asbestos Content and Type / Date Last Used: All types of asbestos have been used in the past. Since the mid 1960s the vast majority has been chrysotile (white) asbestos. Asbestos content approaching 100%.

Ease of Fibre Release and Product Names: Fibres may be released if material is abraded.

Asbestos Gaskets & Washers

Location / Use: Used in domestic hot water boilers to industrial power and chemical plant.

Asbestos Content and Type / Date Last Used: Variable but usually about 90% asbestos. Crocidolite (blue) asbestos used for acid resistance and chrysotile (white) asbestos for chlor-alkali. Some gasket materials will continue to be used after asbestos prohibition takes effect.

Ease of Fibre Release and Product Names: May be dry and damage easily when removed. Mainly a problem for maintenance workers. ‘Klingerit’, ‘Lion jointing’, ‘Permanite’, ‘CAF – compressed asbestos fibre’.