Today, the use of asbestos in one’s home – including the kitchen – is unthinkable. Because asbestos is recognized as a carcinogen and has been deemed as such since the late 1970s, having it around the home is certainly not commonplace. However, asbestos was once widely used in the home, especially in the kitchen, where heat and high temperatures are generated and the potential for fire is very real.
Asbestos found a number of uses in both the residential and commercial kitchen. Asbestos millboard was used in the manufacture of stove mats, which were designed to protect stoves or counters from hot pots. Generally placed upon the stove top, stove mats were usually formed of a combination of asbestos and metal or were made only of asbestos with metal-bound edges. The concentration of asbestos was quite high.
Of course, stove mats weren’t the only household items that contained asbestos. You could also find the toxic mineral in pot holders, iron rests, ironing board covers, and many other products. When these products were in good condition, the asbestos did not create a hazard. However, when they became old and worn or if they were damaged, tiny sharp asbestos fibers could be released and travel into the air. That means that homemakers and others who worked around these products may have been exposed to asbestos dust. The inhalation of the dust may have eventually led to the development of an asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos stove mats were also abundantly used in commercial kitchens, so anyone who worked in food preparation in restaurants, cafeterias, or other similar establishments were probably exposed to the toxic mineral as well.
It’s hard to believe that one could develop such dreaded illnesses by doing common everyday tasks in their own home or at work. Unfortunately, however, that was the case for many individuals. Even sadder is the fact that some asbestos product manufacturers knew about the hazards of the mineral but continued to include it in their products for years, until the Consumer Protection Commission finally issued asbestos use warnings in the late 1970s and the use of most types of asbestos was halted.
Though asbestos-containing stove mats and other household products containing the mineral have not been manufactured since approximately 1980, it is possible that one may still encounter old household items that were manufactured using asbestos. Great care could be taken to insure that no one is exposed to these items and all homes should be cleared of any old products containing asbestos.
It you made regular use of stove mats and other asbestos-containing kitchen or household products and have developed mesothelioma, you should be informed as to your legal rights. For more information about the legal process and for general details about the disease, order our free mesothelioma resource kit today.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.