Were You Exposed to Asbestos Through a Hair Dryer?

red blow dryer, hair dryer, isolated

Most people are aware of the common places where asbestos has been found, such as in insulation, drywall, and automotive parts. But asbestos has shown up in some lesser-known and somewhat surprising places too. As a result, in the past, some people may have unknowingly exposed themselves to asbestos, which can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, while doing chores around the home or using everyday products.

Asbestos in Blow Dryers

One place where you may have least expected to find asbestos is in a handheld hair blow dryer. Blow dryers were often manufactured using asbestos, but it took a photographer to discover that the dryers actually emitted asbestos fibers.

The photographer was drying film negatives with a blow dryer and noted small flecks of dust on the negatives, which turned out to be asbestos. It was found that exposure to asbestos through the use of a hairdryer was comparable to—or even higher than—exposure near construction sites. As a result, many people grooming themselves in their own homes may have unintentionally exposed themselves while using this tool.

A 1979 study noted that while health risks from the occasional use of asbestos-containing hair dryers were less than risks associated with routine on-the-job asbestos exposure, the sheer number of consumers using hair dryers should have been reason enough to stop its use in these products.

Is it Still a Concern?

While the hairdryers containing asbestos were recalled in 1979, there are some who still might be concerned about previous exposure. Hairdressers and anyone who regularly used blow dryers in the 1960s and 1970s should watch for any mesothelioma symptoms, and bear in mind that it can take decades for the cancer to develop. 

Many other familiar household products have also been manufactured using asbestos over the years—even products made for children. Some crayons contained trace amounts of asbestos and a similar substance known as “transitional” fiber up until 2000. Studies showed that the risk posed to children was extremely low, but crayon manufacturers subsequently agreed to eliminate the use of these materials in crayon production. Electric blankets, curling irons, and toasters are just a few more examples of common household products that have been found to contain asbestos.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued statements to increase public awareness of asbestos hazards in various products over the years, as well as issuing some bans on the use of asbestos in these items.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation. Fill out the form below for a free case evaluation.