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Insulation Jacketing

Asbestos Insulation Jacketing and Other Building Materials

Asbestos containing insulation jacketing was used in a number of different applications where fire danger was present. Primarily, this type of jacketing was used around boilers and steam pipes.

Asbestos canvas and blankets were two types of jacketing frequently found around steam applications; another type was cork board made with asbestos fiber. The W.R. Grace Corporation, one of the major asbestos companies between the late 1930s and 1977, marketed a spray-on product called Monokote®, used for steampipe lagging and other purposes. Until the 1970s, this product contained as much as 20% asbestos fiber.

Yet another popular jacketing material was transite, a blend of portland cement with asbestos fiber. It was a material that could be easily worked and that would spread thinly, yet retain great tensile strength.

According to some estimates, some 750,000 older buildings across the U.S. may still contain substantial amounts of asbestos jacketing and other insulation materials. As long as the material is not disturbed or in a deteriorating condition, there is little danger. However, in older buildings, these materials can begin to break down and release asbestos fibers into environment where can be inhaled by those nearby.

Under most state laws, building owners and landlords are required to have asbestos jacketing removed from their property by licensed asbestos abatement contractors. These laws and regulations do not apply to private homeowners. Nonetheless, it is highly recommended that homeowners who find such materials in their homes have it removed professionally. Even though private homeowners can legally do their own asbestos abatement, they are still subject to environmental laws that govern the disposal of these materials, and in most states must also post warnings on their properties.

Insulation Jacketing Products Containing Asbestos

The following partial list of insulation jacketing products were known to contain asbestos:

Product Name Start Year End Year
GAF T/NA Insulation Jacket 1962 1971

Hazards Associated with Insulation Jacketing Products

The primary risk associated with asbestos insulation jacketing was experienced by insulators who were responsible for cutting the insulation material to fit during the installation process or removing old insulation to replace it with new. In these instances it was easy for asbestos fibers to be released into the air where they could be easily inhaled by these workers.

When inhaled, loose fibers lodge in the body’s soft tissues and can cause a number of very serious diseases, ranging from pleural plaques to malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos abatement workers, maintenance personnel, repairmen, and anyone disturbing friable asbestos material during the course of their work are at special risk for inhaling fibers and developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related conditions.



Bowker, Michael. Fatal Deception: The Untold Story of Asbestos (New York: Touchstone, 2003)

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