Asbestos was widely used in the United States between the 1930s and the 1980s. It was quite popular for many reasons. It is highly resistant to fire and flame, as well as corrosion. It can be easily mixed with other materials, like paper, drywall or cement. It is found and produced very cheaply, it is lightweight and easy to use and install. It is not sensitive to temperature changes making it an ideal insulator. However, despite its many uses and benefits, an enormous downside was discovered by the public after a few decades. Asbestos is also very dangerous and it is a carcinogen. Asbestos fibers, when released into the air, are microscopic, making them impossible to see and extremely difficult to avoid. Widespread use of asbestos was discontinued in the United States in the 1980s, though it is still used in small amounts in some products today, and alternatives were found.
1. Polyurethane foam
Polyurethane foam is often used as a roofing material. It is resistant to both temperature changes as well as moisture, making it ideal for this use. It is also quite easy to use on many different surfaces and can be applied to products of any shape. The reason for this is the method of its application. Polyurethane foam is first applied as a liquid spray that then foams up before drying. This means that it can be used on practically anything. It is also lightweight and easy to use but does not have all of the health hazards of asbestos, which can cause serious health conditions. Check out asbestos.net to learn more about the risks.
2. Cellulose Fibers
Cellulose fibers are ideal because they are biodegradable and reusable. They are also easy to mold and manipulate and make a great insulation. The only downside of cellulose fibers is that they are not fire-resistant, but they are safe to use.
3. Amorphous Silica Fabrics
Amorphous silica fabrics are resistant to fire and extreme temperatures. They remain very flexible and breathable at every stage of use, making them ideal for heat resistant clothing. They can also be reused or recycled and are, of course, quite safe, though if you have any concerns you can always check out the CDC
There are many alternatives to asbestos today that are safe for people and for the environment. They are easy to find, obtain and use and are often quite affordable. You will certainly be able to find a material that suits all of your needs without posing a threat to your health.