Asbestos in flasks – Flooding in from Asia

Did you realize there could be asbestos in flasks holding your precious coffee, when pouring it in the cups of your family members? Probably not, we assume that consumer products bought in our home nations are free of asbestos. But, just like asbestos-containing sky lanterns make their way into nations with asbestos bans, the situation is even worse with thermoses having asbestos as a component. The asbestos is usually applied in the separators of the double glass wall of the thermos flask, usually raw friable asbestos. Even worse, some laboratory analysises report use of amphibole asbestos in flasks, including brown asbestos and blue asbestos, the most deadly types of asbestos.

asbestos-in-flasks-thermos-steelOn top of that, those asian-made thermoses are more or less flooding into the western market as cheap imports, sold on the shelfs, just like many other asian products. Thermoses caught in random controls has been recalled (see list below), but the estimated number of unreported uses of asbestos in flasks is high because there are hardly any controls.

Just like the sky lanterns, asbestos in flasks is ususally not detected by EN71 tests or other product quality controls. Specific tests to find asbestos are only perfomed in case of alerts or if the product is known to be a hazard. So, we cannot tell if there is asbestos in flasks we use at home. It should not be neccessary, but it seems we must make sure that importers and retailers do not sell as deadly products like thermoses with asbestos in them. Contact your authorities to raise any such question.

Asbestos in flasks – Excerpt of recalled products in Europe

Here is a list of thermoses with asbestos in flasks, that currently has been caught in controls, and then recalled.
Note that this only lists thermos flasks recalled in Europe, and that those are only the ones that randomly got caught.
Surely, those deadly products are now spread around the world, used by consumers unaware of the issue of asbestos in flasks.

List of recalled thermoses


Sources:

“Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products” (RAPEX)
European Commission

Return to list of asbestos products


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