When asbestos use was at its peak, an estimated 5,000 products contained the dangerous mineral in some form or another. Many of these thousands of products were small items that were found in the home, particularly appliances such as toasters, irons, and even handheld hair dryers.
Why would a hair dryer contain asbestos? The answer is simple. Prior to the asbestos warnings issued in the late 1970s, many electrical appliances contained asbestos because of the mineral’s fire- and heat-resistant properties. The asbestos supposedly made the appliances safer for consumers to use.
Unfortunately, while the asbestos may have prevented fires and burns from occurring, it was putting forth yet another hazard. In 1979, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a statement noting that after a test survey of 30 handheld hair dryers, it was determined that “the majority of the hair dryers tested were found to be emitting asbestos fiber levels comparable to or greater than other serious levels of asbestos in the general environment, such as those found in certain school buildings and near construction sites.”
That’s an alarming fact, considering that most average U.S. households owned at least own handheld hair dryer during that time period, manufactured by such well-known companies as Clairol, Schick, Conair, Sears-Roebuck, and others.
Furthermore, the aforementioned study indicated that the asbestos fibers released by the hair dryers were often being blown directly into the user’s “breathing zone”, making inhalation inevitable.
While the study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission resulted in the recall of all asbestos-containing hair dryers and the subsequent removal of these hair dryers from the market, some consumers ignored the warnings or were not informed of the dangers and continued to use the appliances. Today, some of those individuals are suffering from asbestos-related diseases or have already succumbed to illnesses such as mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer.
As was the case with many uses of asbestos, there is some proof that the manufacturers of asbestos-containing hair dryers may have known about the dangers of the mineral yet continued to produce the appliances. This cover-up resulted in years of unnecessary exposure for many unknowing users.
If exposure to an asbestos-containing handheld hair dryer has caused you to develop mesothelioma, you may be eligible for monetary compensation for your medical and other expenses. An experienced attorney who is trained in asbestos litigation may be able to help you. For more details, order our free mesothelioma resource kit to learn about the disease and your legal rights.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.