Do you have Asbestos Products lurking in your Kitchen?

When we look for asbestos around the home we often focus on materials used in construction, but what about asbestos products in domestic use?

In addition to construction materials many old toys, domestic appliances and items for personal use contain asbestos. Those manufactured before 2000 in the UK are a potential source of exposure to lethal fibres.

Here are some you should be aware of, and if in doubt test for asbestos:

Oven gloves

Oven and heat protective gloves manufactured before the year 2000 are likely to contain asbestos. Studies have shown that gloves in good condition pose minimal risk. However, those that have been well worn with breaks in the fabric will release fibres that you could inhale.  For more information on research into oven mitts and other protective heat resistant clothing containing asbestos click on Exposure and risks from wearing asbestos mitts

Domestic appliances

Due to its excellent fire resistant properties, asbestos was used in the manufacture of linings for a whole range of domestic appliances used in the kitchen.  These include:

  • Grills
  • Toasters
  • Deep fat fryers
  • Cooking ranges
  • Ovens
  • Slow cookers
  • Dishwashers
  • Washing machines
  • Clothes dryers
  • Ironing boards
  • Pot holders

Indeed any appliance that was prone to overheat or used at high temperature benefited from asbestos materials. Unfortunately over time, with damage, the risk of fibres escaping is high.

Asbestos products for personal use

Hair driers: The mineral was also used in many hair driers because they were and still are used at high temperature.

Bottle warmers: The interiors of some baby bottle warmers were insulated with asbestos.

Heat guns: In 1977 Top Flite Models Inc. recalled one of its branded high temperature heat guns. The T/F Monokote guns were used by consumers who enjoyed building model aeroplanes. The heat shields inside the appliance actually released fibres into the air when the guns were being used.

Other regularly used appliances containing asbestos were electricity powered heaters, blankets and hair curling tongs.

Toys

Tremolite is one of the most lethal types of asbestos and it is this mineral that is most likely to be found in children’s toys. We’d like to say that its use in the manufacture of toys has ended but unfortunately this is not the case, particularly in toys produced in China.

Old and new crayons, Crime Scene Kits and toys cars with brakes are likely to contain asbestos if more than 17 years old and/or manufactured in China – check the labels!

Asbestos testing kit

If you have any doubt as to the presence of asbestos products in your home, buy an asbestos testing kit. It will put your mind at rest at a minimum and potentially save your life at best! Inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to cancer which may not manifest for many, many years.