Asbestos is not used in steel-making to produce steel. Nevertheless, steelworkers experienced significant asbestos exposure because asbestos was used extensively as insulation for the machinery used for steel production, including steel furnaces, ovens, stoves, rolling mills, and boilers. Asbestos was also used for fireproofing the steel-making machinery components and as insulation boards for the steel molds.
Exposure to asbestos has been shown to cause the development of a lung disease called mesothelioma. Most people assume that the risk of asbestos exposure comes mostly from working around manufacturing processes or construction. However, asbestos was also discovered in talcum powder used in many consumer products.
Colgate-Palmolive, a New York-based, global consumer product giant, has been in the line of fire these past few years. They began as a starch, small soap, and candle business in New York in the 19th century, and they now sell consumer products to hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide. Besides starch, soap, and candles, Colgate-Palmolive has also sold perfumes, toothpaste, and baby powder (talcum-based) products.