I could have been exposed to asbestos through my hair dryer?

02/18/2013 // Chicago, IL, USA // Cooney & Conway // Jessica McNeil // (press release)

CHICAGO, IL – (News: asbestos attorney news) — Most people are aware of the common places where asbestos has been found, such as in insulation, drywall, and automotive parts. But asbestos has shown up in some lesser-known and somewhat surprising places too. As a result, in the past, some people may have unknowingly exposed themselves to asbestos, which can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, while doing chores around the home or using everyday products.

One place where you may have least expected to find asbestos is in a handheld hair blow dryer. Blow dryers were often manufactured using asbestos, but it took a photographer to discover that the dryers actually emitted asbestos fibers. The photographer was drying film negatives with a blow dryer, and noted small flecks of dust on the negatives, which turned out to be asbestos. It was found that exposure to asbestos through use of a hair dryer was comparable to—or even higher than—exposure near construction sites. As a result, many people grooming themselves in their own homes may have unintentionally exposed themselves while using this tool. A 1979 study noted that while health risks from occasional use of asbestos-containing hair dryers were less than risks associated with routine on-the-job asbestos exposure, the sheer number of consumers using hair dryers should have been reason enough to stop its use in these products.

Many other familiar household products have also been manufactured using asbestos over the years—even products made for children. Some crayons contained trace amounts of asbestos and a similar substance known as “transitional” fiber up until 2000. Studies showed that the risk posed to children was extremely low, but crayon manufacturers subsequently agreed to eliminate use of these materials in crayon production. Electric blankets, curling irons, and toasters are just a few more examples of common household products that have been found to contain asbestos.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued statements to increase public awareness of asbestos hazards in various products over the years, as well as issuing some bans on the use of asbestos in these items.

Media Contact: Mesothelioma Firm of Cooney & Conway | 312-436-2441

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