Because of its resistance to heat and corrosion, asbestos has been woven, moulded and sprayed. It has been used on at least 3,000 products ranging from brake linings to ironing board covers and children’s toys.
The use of asbestos is so widespread that anyone who works in a building or area where asbestos was used and is now deteriorating or creating dust is in danger of contracting asbestos-related disease. This includes CUPE members working in schools, hospitals and libraries, many of which were built when the use of asbestos was extensive, that is during the period between 1945 and the early 1970s. Although many CUPE members may be exposed in schools, hospitals and libraries, others may be exposed by working directly with asbestos.