Formerly known as the “miracle fiber,” asbestos was once used so frequently that it is estimated to have been in 3,000 different products. Today, asbestos products can still be purchased in the United States. Because any amount of exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, it is important to know what you are buying.
Diane Blackburn-Zambetti, Director of Policy and Prevention Education at the Meso Foundation, recently came across asbestos-containing products for sale online. Diane stated, “While listening to one of my husband’s stained glass videos, a reference was made to the ‘wonderful asbestos gloves’ the lovely man was wearing while working. I immediately thought ‘where did this nice man obtain asbestos gloves?’ An immediate Google search yielded an alarming number of asbestos products that can be purchased today.” Products, such as the examples below, are available on multiple websites.
Those who choose to purchase such products should know the risks brought on by asbestos exposure. While there may be no immediate effects of exposure, asbestos-related diseases can develop later in life. The latency period between exposure and the development of mesothelioma is 20 to 50 years.
Diane continued, “I can‘t help to think of this nice man’s grandchild playing with these gloves and having health issues later in life.” Not only is the buyer at risk, but secondary exposure can put others at risk as well. A significant number of mesothelioma patients have appeared in the category of secondary, or stealth, asbestos exposure. For example, family members of asbestos workers are exposed through contact with contaminated clothing or tools.
It is important that you and your network of family and friends are educated when it comes to asbestos products. If you suspect asbestos may be in a product, do not purchase it before researching what it contains. Also, keep in mind that asbestos may be in antique products.
Learn more about asbestos and the risks brought on by exposure at curemeso.org/asbestos.