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Asbestos hazards in clothes dryers.
Was asbestos used in clothes dryers? Are there asbestos exposure risks to people using an old clothes dryer that may contain asbestos? What clothes dryer parts used asbestos? How much asbestos is released into the air from old clothes dryers? This article lists research discussing the asbestos materials and components used in clothes dryers and possible asbestos hazards from the use of such asbestos-containing appliances.
This article series lists & describes forms in which asbestos was used in building materials & products, including providing a master list of the forms in which asbestos was used, a list of known asbestos-containing materials, and links to detailed articles about individual asbestos-containing products & materials found in buildings and in a wide range of products used in both home and industry.
Asbestos use in Clothes Dryers: a hazard to building occupants?
Question: was asbestos used in clothes dryers & clothes dryer belts?
2016/08/25 Chris said:
Do old clothes dryers contain asbestos? I read online from a few sources that old clothes dryer belts, especially belts not made in USA, often contain asbestos and that its one of the largest causes of asbestos exposure in a household. Is this true? I can't find much on it. My dryer was manufactured in Canada in 1984, should I be concerned? Thanks
[Click to enlarge any image]
Shown here: an older Inglis® clothes dryer sold in Canada by Inglis Home Appliances.
Reply: Yes, but the asbestos hazard from dryer belts hasn't been demonstrated.
Here is where asbestos was used in clothes dryers including felts, combustion chamber insulation, drive belts, electrical components
Clothes dryer belts in modern machines are typically fabric-reinforced rubber, but of course it's possible that asbestos was indeed used in some older clothes dryers (as I’ll cite below) and I did find through research a citation confirming use of asbestos in some dryer drive belts.
However I'd be surprised to see any credible research tracing a clothes dryer belt to a significant asbestos exposure in any building. The total volume of a clothes dryer belt is very small - just inches; and at least for the dryers I've seen, the belt is not in the air path of the dryer intake nor exhaust.
A bit of research DOES confirm that asbestos was used in some older clothes dryers from the 1940's and 1950's and possibly extending in North America at least into the late 1970's .
Reader follow-up:ok so was asbestos used in my 1984 Inglis clothes dryer sold in Canada
Thank you ... for your reply. In your opinion, would a clothes dryer manufactured in 1984 in Canada be suspect to containing asbestos? The dryer is a gas-fired made by Inglis®
I have no objective data about Inglis clothes dryers sold in Canada and made in 1984, but it seems unlikely that by that year manufacturers would still be using a controversial and sometimes unsafe material in their appliances. Have you tried contacting the Inglis company to ask them directly if Asbestos was used in any component of their product? Inglis® is currently a registered trademark of Whirlpool Canada, L.P.
Inglis Home Appliances, Whirlpool Canada
200-6750 Century Ave.
Mississauga ON L5N 0B7 Canada, Customer service Tel: 1-800-807-6777 Website: http://www.inglis.ca/
Excerpt: 150 years ago, John Inglis and his sons started a small company in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
For Parts & Accessories sales and information about Inglis appliances, see www.whirlpoolparts.ca
Finally, look again at my OPINION about clothes dryer belts and asbestos.
In researching this question, while patent research confirms, without doubt, the use of asbestos in several clothes dryer components, research looking for studies that specifically found asbestos hazards to humans ascribed to use of clothes dryers that used asbestos in their components did not come up with much at all. The phrase "Asbestos in clothes dryer" as a search term finds occasional mention but not data.
Browne, Marilyn L., Deepa Varadarajulu, Elizabeth L. Lewis-Michl, and Edward F. Fitzgerald. "Cancer incidence and asbestos in drinking water, Town of Woodstock, New York, 1980–1998." Environmental research 98, no. 2 (2005): 224-232.
This is an article about asbestos contamination in water.
Burns, John P., G. Edward Cassady III, Kenneth B. Cole Jr, and Timothy R. Dodson. "Analysis of the Legal Social and Political Issues Raised by Asbestos Litigation, An." Vand. L. Rev. 36 (1983): 573.
This article points out the absence of relationship between absolute level of asbestos hazards associated with specific products and the presence of litigation.
Gualtieri, A. F. "Mineral fibre-based building materials and their health hazards." Toxicity of Building Materials (2012): 166-195.
"Millions were exposed—were you? March 4, 2004 Asbestos: Think Again: Millions were exposed—were you?." [HTML] The New York Times (2004).
This NY TImes article includes "clothes dryers" among residential asbestos exposure sources but cites no authoritative research supporting that specific clothes-dryer asbestos hazard listing.
It is possible that some anxiety about asbestos hazards and clothes dryer originates in research confirming that asbestos hazards in homes were sometimes traced to the washing and drying of asbestos-contaminated-clothing itself, brought home by workers who travailed in industries where that material was used.
Anderson, William L. "Unwarranted Basis for Today's Asbestos Take-Home Cases, The." Am. J. Trial Advoc. 39 (2015): 107.
Donovan, Ellen P., Brooke L. Donovan, Meg A. McKinley, Dallas M. Cowan, and Dennis J. Paustenbach. "Evaluation of take home (para-occupational) exposure to asbestos and disease: a review of the literature." Critical reviews in toxicology 42, no. 9 (2012): 703-731.
Goswami, Emily, Valerie Craven, David L. Dahlstrom, Dominik Alexander, and Fionna Mowat. "Domestic asbestos exposure: a review of epidemiologic and exposure data." International journal of environmental research and public health 10, no. 11 (2013): 5629-5670.
NIOSH, "Protect your Family, Reduce Contamination at Home", [PDF] NIOSH, U.S. CDC, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service,
Excerpt: The means by which hazardous substances have reached
workers’ homes and families
• work clothing
pesticides, and other
chemicals. In some
cases washing machines
and dryers contained
dangerous levels of the
materials, poisoning those
laundering work clothes and
contaminating other laundry.
Rice, Carol, and Ellen F. Heineman. "An asbestos job exposure matrix to characterize fiber type, length, and relative exposure intensity." Applied occupational and environmental hygiene 18, no. 7 (2003): 506-512.
Finally, let's consider air passages and air movements into and through clothes dryers in speculating about potential asbestos hazards.
When a clothes dryer is operating room air is drawn into the cloths dryer, heated, passed through the drum interior where it absorbs moisture from wet or damp clothing in the dryer, then the moisture-laden air is blown (usually) outdoors. It's pretty much a one-way directional cycle.
If there were friable asbestos in that air passage upstream from the damp clothing, then yes it is certainly conceivable that airborne asbestos particles might be drawn into the dryer drum and thus might contaminate clothing therein.
My research to date has not found a single research article citing that hazard as actually having been demonstrated. It'd be easy enough to do so. One would collect both air samples from the clothes dryer exhaust and vacuumed dust/particle samples from various types of clothing that had been run through the dryer.
(Excluding of course asbestos-containing fabrics themselves such as fire fighting garments or clothing brought home by workers in an asbestos-using industry as I cited earlier). Perhaps then we'd need to test the clothing for asbestos before and after it has been washed and run through the clothes dryer.
I'll look further but I've not found a single research study demonstrating that such a hazard has actually been demonstrated.
Other Examples of Asbestos-containing Fabrics & Textiles that May have Passed Through Clothes Dryers & Washing Machines
Note: most of the uses of asbestos listed here are obsolete and the products mentioned have not been manufactured for quite some time. However these
products may still be encountered, particularly in older buildings and among old consumer products.
Asbestos clothing used for fire & safety garments (image above). A complete list of uses of asbestos including in clothing and other textiles and fabrics is at
ASBESTOS LIST of PRODUCTS
Asbestos Felt was used in products such as acoustical liners, noise insulation, adhesives, plastics and in clothes dryers. The properties of asbestos felts are described in table 9.2 found
at ASBESTOS PLASTICS
Asbestos in other appliances: asbestos was used in other appliances and small apliances such as toasters, toaster ovens, and Hair dryers containing asbestos were sold by many companies including Clairol, COnair, General Electric, Gillette, J.C. Penny, Montgomery Ward, Norelco, Shick, Sears Roebuck & Co., Sunbeam
Asbestos in many forms was discontinued in all home construction uses beginning in 1990, but beware: pre-1990 products might have been used
in some homes built shortly afterwards.
Low asbestos risk in some materials: One should note that some of these products contain such small amounts of asbestos, or asbestos in forms not easily converted to airborne
fibers (non-friable), that the risk from the product is likely to be very small. One might elect to dispose of an old asbestos-containing
toaster, but not to hire an environmental test firm or asbestos abatement company for that procedure.
Many other asbestos-containing products, both historic and among some current products, encapsulate the asbestos fibers in cementious or resinous materials which minimize the possible release of asbestos fibers into the air.
Continue reading at ASBESTOS LIST of PRODUCTS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
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Questions & answers or comments about what building products and common in-building products, appliances, mechanical components were produced using asbestos materials.
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Archer, S. R., and T. R. Blackwood. Status assessment of toxic chemicals: asbestos. Vol. 1. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Industrial Environmental Research Laboratory, 1979. In this text, table 4. U.S. Asbestos Uses (3)
This book is available as a free e-book via Google Play. Link:
Asbestos, its Industrial Applications, D.V. Roasato, engineering consultant, Newton MA, Reinhold Publishing Co., NY, 1959, Library of Congress Catalog No. 59-12535. We are in process of re-publishing this interesting text. Excerpts & adaptations are found in InspectApedia.com articles on asbestos history, production & visual identification in and on buildings.
Asbestos Asbestos: How to find and recognize asbestos in buildings - visual inspection methods, list of common asbestos-containing materials
Asbestos Fiberglass: Indoor Air Quality Investigations: Health Concerns About Airborne Fiberglass: Fiberglass in Indoor Air from HVAC ducts, and Building Insulation
Asbestos Enviro-Scare: Electric Power Lines, Electromagnetic Fields, Cancer Risk, & "Enviro-Scare" - The Normal Curve Cycle of Public Fear of Environmental Issues
Asbestos Dust from the World Trade Center collapse following the 9/11/01 attack: the lower floors of this building contained spray-on fire-proofing asbestos materials.
Asbestos Asbestos Information Links: Asbestos Detection, Testing, Recognition, Hazards, Field Photos, and Information Sources, including
health-related links such as legal services and information about mesothelioma and other cancers.
"Asbestos in Plastic Compositions", A.B. Cummins, Modern Plastics [un-dated, pre 1952]
"Asbestos in Your Home," Spokane County Air Pollution Control Authority, Spokane WA 509-477-4727 www.scapa.org provides a one-page image, a .pdf file drawing of a house warning of some possible sources of asbestos in the home. The sources are not ranked according to actual risk of releasing hazardous levels of airborne asbestos fibers and the list is useful but incomplete.
Chrysotile [asbestos] and Its Uses, Louis Perron, Minerals and Metals Sector, Canadian Minerals Yearbook, 2002, Natural Resources Canada, web search 03/01/2011, original source: http://www.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca/mms-smm/busi-indu/cmy-amc/content/2002/20.pdf
The US EPA provides a sample list of asbestos containing products epa.gov/earth1r6/6pd/asbestos/asbmatl.htm
Thanks to Susan Kimball, Argus Pacific Corp., Puget Sound, WA, for pointing out that some products are permitted to contain more than 1% asbestos fibers by current standards provided that the fibers are encapsulated in an appropriate binder. Argus Pacific, in Seattle, WA 98119, 206.285.3373, is an industrial hygiene firm who also provide OSHA and DOSH regulated training in Washington State, providing classes in asbestos, lead, mold, hazardous waste, emergency response, and other occupational health, safety, and professional development topics. -- September 2008.
Work Practice for Window Removal and Window Putty Patching
With Less Than Or Equal To 1% Asbestos Window Putty and Caulking" University of Washington, 2002 http://www.washington.edu/admin/asbestos/1putty.html
How do I Manage Asbestos in our House or Apartment Building?, Illinois Department of Environmental Conservation, provides this article at http://www.epa.state.il.us/small-business/asbestos-in-home/
Asbestos in buildings - employee notice, University of Washington dept. of Environmental Safety, http://www.ehs.washington.edu/ohsasbestos/index.shtm
Window putty to be exempted from asbestos removal by State of Maine - http://list.uvm.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=SAFETY;wYpdKg;20010307113643-0500A
EPA Region 6 identifies window putty as asbestos containing - http://www.epa.gov/earth1r6/6pd/asbestos/asbmatl.htm
June 1997 - Window Putty - OSHA case cites contractor for asbestos exposure during removal of window putty http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=1091
Asbestos Identification, Walter C.McCrone, McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, IL.1987 ISBN 0-904962-11-3. Dr. McCrone literally "wrote the book" on asbestos identification procedures which formed
the basis for current work by asbestos identification laboratories.
Stanton, .F., et al., National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 506: 143-151
Pott, F., Staub-Reinhalf Luft 38, 486-490 (1978) cited by McCrone
ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME U.S. EPA, Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
Asbestos NESHAP ADEQUATELY WET ASBESTOS GUIDANCE, EPA340/1-90-019, December 1990, U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Stationary Source Compliance Division, Washington, DC 20460,original web source: http://www.epa.gov/region04/air/asbestos/awet.htm
Asbestos products and their history and use in various building materials such as asphalt and vinyl flooring includes discussion which draws on ASBESTOS, ITS INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS, ROSATO 1959, D.V. Rosato, engineering consultant, Newton, MA, Reinhold Publishing, 1959 Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 59-12535 (out of print, text and images available at InspectAPedia.com).
Fiberglass: Indoor Air Quality Investigations: Health Concerns About Airborne Fiberglass: Fiberglass in Indoor Air from HVAC ducts, and Building Insulation
Asbestos Information Links: Asbestos Detection, Testing, Recognition, Hazards, Field Photos, and Information Sources, including
health-related links such as legal services and information about mesothelioma and other cancers.
"Handling Asbestos-Containing roofing material - an update", Carl Good, NRCA Associate Executive Director, Professional Roofing, February 1992, p. 38-43
EPA Guidance for Controlling Asbestos-Containing Materials in buildings, NIAST, National Institute on Abatement Sciences & Technology, [republishing EPA public documents] 1985 ed., Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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