The use of asbestos in products to help provide protection from fire first began centuries ago, but it became increasingly more common during the early twentieth century. Asbestos is a very effective material to provide fireproofing and fire protection, but it is also very dangerous when its microscopic fibers are inhaled. Since the 1980s, the use of asbestos has almost entirely been discontinued.
Asbestos was an inexpensive additive used in numerous fire-resistant products. Beginning in the mid-1800s, asbestos was used in textiles, woven into fabrics to make them more resistant to fire. Some of the resulting products included suits for firefighters, laboratory gloves, and theater curtains. These textiles were also used in other fire-resistant fabrics, clothes, insulations, and coatings.
The use of asbestos was also quite common in construction materials to help with preventing fires. Some of these products included: