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Dryer vent installation, sloppy (C) D FriedmanAsbestos Hazards in Clothes Dryers
Do or did clothes dryers ever present an asbestos hazard to humans?

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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.



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Asbestos use in Clothes Dryers: a hazard to building occupants?

Ingilis Clothes Dryer - does it contain asbestos? (C) InspectApedia.comQuestion: 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

Chris:

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

Ingilis clothes dryer data tag (C) InspectApedia.comChris said:

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®
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Moderator reply:

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.

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.

See

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.
E.g. see

Inglis clothes dryer details & components (C) InspectApedia.comFinally, 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

Asbestos fire suit (C) Daniel Friedman Mine Safety Appliances RosatoNote: 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 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.

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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.

Or see ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN BUILDINGS

Or see ASBESTOS PHOTO GUIDE to MATERIALS

Or see CLOTHES DRYER FIRE HAZARD WARNINGS

Or see CLOTHES DRYER LINT FILTER HAZARDS

Or see CLOTHES DRYER INSTALLATION & REPAIR

Or see EPA Sample List of Asbestos Containing Materials [PDF] at InspectApedia.com

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