Videos Used to Promote Asbestos: Before We Knew It Was Dangerous
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May 3, 2012

Videos Used to Promote Asbestos: Before We Knew It Was Dangerous

Asbestos was a very popular material in the 1950s and 1960s. It was discovered that it has certain properties which can be useful in the industrial manufacturing as well as building construction and everyday lives. It can be easily processed and made into anything we need – from clothes to roof tiles and isolation material. Its resistance to fire and other elements made it very popular as an isolation material. This is, of course, we knew that it was dangerous for the human health. Precisely because of its structure and longevity it can become airborne and once inhaled it can settle in the lungs and cause a number of serious and fatal diseases.

Asbestos in the beginning

But, when it was first discovered it was like discovering a new potential gold mine. Asbestos had the potential to be incorporated into many industry branches. That is why the authorities tried to promote it in every way possible. Promotional videos were typical for that time and many promotional asbestos videos suddenly became very popular.

Promotional videos

Most of the promotional videos were about the general properties of asbestos. They promoted the newly discovered material and hinted the possibilities where it could be used. Special attention was placed on the structure of the new material and laboratory testing which was done in order to approve its use. A typical example of this kind of video can be seen here.

There were also a few videos developed in order to show the public how asbestos is mined and to insure that it is very safe to handle. You can check out the mining of asbestos here.

Additionally there were videos to promote the specific function of asbestos. Its use in building construction has many diverse purposes. It can be used as a roof tiling material, wall strengthening material, but most importantly it can be used as an isolation material. Its ability to withstand the elements, especially fire and extreme heat made one of the most popular fire proofing materials. Next, as it could be easily manipulated into yarn from which clothes could be made, it was often used for the production of special fire-proof suits and gloves. Anything which needed to be fire-proof was first made of asbestos. Here is an example of such a video.

Finally there were highly specialized videos to promote asbestos. These videos include vinyl floors made from asbestos, asbestos industrial use, production of asbestos yarn, use of asbestos in the electrical industry, etc.

All of these promotional videos played a big role in the popularization of asbestos use all over the world. As it was typical of that period also, they went as far as to promote people who discovered asbestos and were the first ones to use it. They were called pioneers of asbestos.


With asbestos promoted and used so heavily in the past it is no wonder that many asbestos removal companies exist today. The key is to have asbestos removed by professionals with the proper equipment otherwise you run the risk of causing serious long term damage to your health.