Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451 with an asbestos cover at InspectApedia.copm Asbestos Use in Books & Bookbinding

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Asbestos use in the production of books:

This article describes the use of asbestos in some bound books or in book binding.

We include descriptions of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and Stephen King's Firestarter, both bound in different forms of an asbestos fabric.

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Asbestos Use in Book Production for Fireproof Books or Journals

Binding of a 1960's children's book, unlikely to contain asbestos (C) CWQuestion: does this 1950's children's book pose an asbestos hazard?

I was wondering if you might take a look at the attached photo

It is a photo of a hardcover children’s book my child brought home from the library. I just read recently that books in the mid-1900s could possibly contain asbestos in the binding.

This book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, in a Viking Library Binding is circa 1963 and as you can see it has a couple different types of tape reinforcement.

It says it has a “Viking library binding” that lends extra reinforcement.

Have you ever heard of asbestos in book bindings/tape? Looking at these photos, do you think it’s possible that this book contains asbestos? - Anonymous by private email 20176/11/16

[Click to enlarge any image]

Reply: asbestos was used in books where special fire resistance was needed and in a few other rare editions

It is unlikely that asbestos would have been used in the cover or binding of an ordinary children's book like the one in your photos.

The book shown in these photos most-likely does not contain asbestos. Naturally only a test by a certified asbestos test lab can complete an authoritative answer to the question.

In my OPINION even if asbestos had been used, such as in a repair tape, the potential hazard of airborne asbestos fibers from such a book is likely to be minimal, perhaps below the limits of detection unless the book is abused, ground, sawn, chopped up etc.

Binding of a 1960's children's book, unlikely to contain asbestos (C) CW Binding of a 1960's children's book, unlikely to contain asbestos (C) CW

There have been a few exceptions in which conventional books were bound using asbestos, as reported for a set of fireproofed and autographed first editions of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and Stephen King's Firestarter (1980) cited by T Magazine in a 2010 article published by The New York Times.

The first-edition of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 shown here bound using an asbestos cloth has been offered for sale in the $10,000 U.S.D. range.

Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451 with an asbestos cover at InspectApedia.copm Two hundred copies of the first edition of Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953 by Ballantine Books, Inc. New York, were bound in Johns-Manville Quinterra, an asbestos material with resistance to pyrolysis. Each copy was numbered and signed by the author. The book was dedicated to Don Congdon, a literary agent.

And we have found reports of asbestosis among bookbinders in the 1950's - a claim that merits further research. There the asbestos was used in the bookbinders tool handles, not specifically in the book binding materials themselves. (Andyshak 2006)

Asbestos paper-based repair tape products were indeed used on heating pipes, hot water pipes, and heating air ducts - see ASBESTOS PAPER DUCT INSULATION for examples of that different application and material.

Asbestos was used in some books and bound materials, principally where fireproof or fire resistant properties were wanted, not in books for general reading - ordered by year.

Stephen King's Firestarter bound in aluminum-coated asbestos at InspectApedia.colm

Examples of Asbestos-Containing Repair Tape Products (not peculiar to use in bookbinding or book repair)


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