asbestos in fake snow

Asbestos in Fake Snow and its Dangers

5 Dec 2019 Asbestos

By now, we are all familiar with the fact that asbestos was present in many items and workplaces between the 1930s and 1950s. Sometimes it was hidden in work equipment or as insulation to prevent fires, and other times it fell from the sky in the form of fake snow. Asbestos in fake snow was prevalent during the 1940s as it had exactly the look required to emulate the real thing.

For example, in The Wizard of Oz, the scene where Dorothy falls asleep during snowfall, the snow used in the film was made from 100% industrial-grade asbestos. Without having known what we know today about the dangers of asbestos, the cast and crew of The Wizard of Oz and probably many other films during that period were all put at risk for severe asbestos exposure and eventual mesothelioma.

The fluffy, crystalline looking fibres of asbestos were the perfect way to give fake snow the look of the real thing while reducing the risk of fires. Add while it was widely used on set during filming, it also became popular in homes.

Families During the Holidays

Families began to sprinkle the asbestos-snow on trees, Christmas ornaments and other decorations, putting everyone – children, elderly family members and pets, at risk for illness. Children played with the snow, and families gathered to use it for decorating. If you have inherited vintage, antique Christmas ornaments, you may also be at risk because a lot of them were decorated with asbestos. If your ornaments have a crystalline look to them and they are vintage, make sure to dispose of them.

Employees In Manufacturing Facilities

Employees who worked at these production facilities for asbestos in fake snow, Christmas ornaments or other holiday decorations were also put at risk. Because asbestos in fake snow was the only substance of this decoration, its fibres were floating around in the air, being inhaled by anyone in or close to the facility.

Filming Cast & Crew On-Set of Movies

Fortunately as the dangers of asbestos in fake snow became prevalent, and the dangers of asbestos in general, its use on set slowed until it completely ceased. Nowadays, it’s very rare to still come across asbestos use in products, especially in fake snow, unless it was manufactured in the 1940s and still remains stored in basements or attics worldwide.

If you suspect you have old asbestos-based fake snow in your home or work facility, make sure to get in touch with us. We will guide you through the process of elimination and arrive on-site to dispose of it ourselves.