HVAC Equipment is a Common Source of Asbestos Exposure

Posted by Anna D. Knudson

One challenge attorneys face with new clients is determining the sources of their asbestos exposure. When considering where you or your loved one came in contact with this hazardous substance, do not overlook the possibility of exposure through heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment.

Asbestos is such an effective insulator and fire retardant that it is not surprising to find it was widely used in commercial and residential furnaces, boilers and HVAC accessories. Experts in the field attest to encountering asbestos materials on old furnaces and boilers still to this day. Here are just a few examples of companies that used asbestos with their equipment:

  • Lennox Industries, Inc. routinely shipped its oil furnaces with asbestos rope—in some cases 5 feet of it—to insulate the blast tubes (where the oil and air are mixed prior to combustion.) Lennox also supplied asbestos gaskets, millboard and paper with some models of furnaces. Its gas heaters could also be lined with foil backed corrugated asbestos insulation.
  • Crane Co. manufactured the Crane 16 Boiler, a packaged unit that came insulated with the asbestos containing insulation Asbestocel lining its outer jacket. The company also manufactured the Crane Basmor 25, which came with a jacket fully insulated with asbestos.
  • Weil-McLain, a boiler manufacturer, supplied asbestos containing rope, pre-cut gaskets, precut millboard, mine cement (including Johns-Manville 352), furnace cement, pre-cut corrugated air cell paper.
  • Duro Dyne Corporation fabricated flexible duct connectors containing chrysotile asbestos. A flexible duct connector is a thin strip of flexible material, such as a canvas, which is mechanically fastened to sheet metal on both sides to reduce noise and vibration. Between 1955 and 1978 Duro Dyne sold asbestos containing duct connectors to distributors under various trade names, including Metal Fab Asbestos, Super Metal Fab, Econ-o-Fab, Junior Asbestos and Asbestoseal.
  • CertainTeed, a leading manufacturer of asbestos-cement pipe, marketed Asbestos-Cement Air Duct for use in industrial, commercial, residential and institutional HVAC applications. Promotional materials describe this product as “clean as a whistle” with a smooth interior bore that assures “clear, unimpeded air flow.”

As one of the leading mesothelioma law firms in the United States, Bergman Draper & Frockt aggressively investigates sources of exposure to asbestos from HVAC equipment and accessories. If you or someone you know has an old furnace or boiler which you think may still contain asbestos insulation or other asbestos materials, you should contact a professional, licensed asbestos materials testing firm and abatement contractor before disturbing the material or removing the equipment yourself.