Asbestos has been used in a wide array of products over the years, some well-known uses and some unusual ones. We have compiled the ten most unusual uses of asbestos that we know of:
Snow is something we have seen more than enough of over this Winter period. However, the real deal does melt and disappear. But for circumstances where snow needs to reside for aesthetic purposes, artificial snow has had its place in history and it is one of the weird and wonderful instances where asbestos has played its part.
Chrysotile (white) asbestos has been used as a substitute for snow, which it greatly resembles. Not only because it looked realistic but also because it didn't melt and was fire-proof. Chrysotile was sold as artificial snow, in boxes resembling washing powder, from the late 1920s and 1930s under a variety of trade names – "Snow Drift", "White Magic Snow", "Christmas Snow", "Artificial Snow". It was sprinkled on Christmas trees, decorations and ornaments to give the fresh fallen snow look.
Movies requiring snowy scenes had to rely on artificial snow on an industrial scale. Two of the most popular movies of all times used many tonnes of Chrysotile sprayed about the movie sets to reproduce falling and fallen snow.
One of the classic Christmas songs – "White Christmas" written by Irving Berlin and sung by Bing Crosby first appeared in the 1942 movie "Holiday Inn" also starring Fred Astaire. The snow scenes were all formed by sprayed Chrysotile.
In the 1939 classic movie the "Wizard of Oz", Dorothy, Scarecrow and Lion were sprayed with raw Chrysotile asbestos in the "Poppy Field" scene, exposing cast and crew alike.
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