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The Asbestos Timeline

You’ve probably heard of asbestos before, whether it was from a commercial about Mesothelioma lawsuits or you found it inside of your home and had to get it removed. But did you know that the existence of asbestos dates back to 2500 BC?

We’re breaking down the timeline of asbestos when it became popular when we realized it was dangerous and then when we finally took action.

The Asbestos Timeline

2400 BC

More than 4,500 years ago, people in what we now know as Finland used asbestos to create pots and other cooking utensils.

First Century AD

An ancient Roman scholar wrote that slaves who mine and worked with asbestos became ill, though they would not know the cause of this illness for another 2,000 years.


The Johns Company began mining fibrous anthophyllite in 1858 for asbestos insulation in Staten Island, New York. Additionally, the Industrial Revolution saw a marked increase in asbestos production and use in North America.


Dr. E.R.A. Merewether, a famous researcher, found that one out of four workers had asbestosis.

He further concluded:

  • Asbestosis was a disease of latency, and workers wouldn’t show signs of injury for many years;

  • That asbestos dust had to be controlled through ventilation and the use of respirators.

  • That workers exposed to asbestos should be informed and warned to have a “sane appreciation of the risk.”


The first report of asbestosis in an American insulation worker came in 1933. However, there is speculation that the disease had been misdiagnosed as tuberculosis or other pulmonary diseases before then. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. found asbestosis in 29 percent of workers in a Johns-Manville asbestos factory, leading to settlements in lawsuits filed by 11 sick employees.


Asbestos is listed as a recognized cause of occupational and environmental cancer by the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Medical research continued to identify asbestos as a major carcinogen and environmental hazard. With this knowledge, manufacturers of these materials continued to sell and install asbestos products without warning workers, reducing the dust or substituting equally effective materials in place of the asbestos.

In fact, many companies knew about the connection between asbestos and cancer as early as the 1930s. However, these companies altered reports to hide these findings from the public.


Congress passes the Clean Air Act, which would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant.


The EPA completes its 10-year study and announces that it will phase out the use of asbestos in almost all products in the U.S. The EPA also bans the use of asbestos in products that did not contain asbestos before the ban.


Under pressure from asbestos industry lobbyists, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns the EPA’s ban and phase-out of products containing asbestos. While use of asbestos is still banned in some products by other legislation and regulations, the substance can still be found in dozens of products manufactured today.

At this point, more than 50 other countries have banned the use of asbestos, but the United States is not one of them.

If you’re worried about asbestos in your home, call us immediately. Our team of trained professionals will remove the asbestos safely without spreading it further throughout your home.

Contact us today to learn more about our remediation services.