Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Except When It’s Fake: All You Need to Know About ASBESTOS in Fake Snow
From the mid-1930s through the 1950s, asbestos was viewed as a safe substance. Thanks to asbestos being inexpensive and versatile… it was used in a variety of products. From cigarette filters to baby powder to crock pots and hairdryers, asbestos was used in some of the most commonly used — and, you’d think, harmless — household products. But don’t think the asbestos industry forgot about the winter holidays: because fake snow used to contain asbestos, too.
Fortunately, modern fake snow does not contain asbestos, but if you take a look at the original Wizard of Oz movie, you will find asbestos-laden snow in that iconic scene where Dorothy and her friends fall asleep upon a bed of poppies only to be woken by “fresh” snow.
Sad thing is asbestos wasn’t even “in” the fake snow, necessarily, instead, it was pure, chrysotile asbestos fibers themselves that were used to resemble fresh snow.
But “asbestos snow” wasn’t just in the movies. You could count on the dangerous asbestos fibers showing up in homes and department stores around the country, used in holiday decorations and on top of Christmas trees.
Asbestos manufacturers used trade names like “Snow Drift,” “White Magic” and “Pure White” to market the asbestos snow.
The crazy thing is, this fake asbestos snow finally stopped being used at the height of WWII, when asbestos was needed for ships, planes and other military-related needs.
It’s unfortunate to imagine that something so dangerous could be used for years, invited into peoples’ homes and places of work and even played with by growing children. The risk of inhaling asbestos fibers was high for anyone near asbestos snow — and if people had other risks, either on the job, through the work of their loved one or in their home, well, the very unfortunate reality is they could be suffering with mesothelioma today.
This holiday season we’re thankful for the fact that we now know just how dangerous asbestos is — and thankful for the fact that asbestos is not used in our homes as decoration. But that does not erase the dangers of the past.