Asbestos in sports and games

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that has been processed in a significant number of products. There are more than 3,500 different applications known materials where asbestos was processed. Most of these materials are used in the construction, transportation, and industry. But there are also lesser-known forms of asbestos-containing materials which are, to say the least, remarkable and eyebrows will do frown. So it is entirely possible that you encounter asbestos-containing materials during the performance of the favorite sport or hobby.

Asbestos in sports and games

Background information

Asbestos is a natural product that was too great mines and still won. The use of asbestos is not only gone back much further than many people think little of the twentieth century. Concluded that in 4000 BC from archaeological finds in Finland. Al asbestos was added to pots of clay. Written sources have become clear that since then, over the years by different peoples, individuals and companies manufactured a variety of products containing asbestos for various purposes. With the dawn of the industrial revolution began the industrial processing of asbestos-containing materials in an increasing number of goods. The mining of asbestos was significantly increased by the discovery of a vast number of asbestos inventories, particularly in Russia, Canada, and South Africa. In the twentieth century, asbestos was used on a large scale until the end of the twentieth century in many countries banned the use of asbestos after decades of discussions about the harmfulness of asbestos.

Why Asbestos?

Asbestos has some very favorable properties. Asbestos is resistant to high temperatures, is chemically inert, has excellent insulating properties, has a high tensile strength and is very resistant to wear. The mineral was easy and cheap to extract and adequately stocked. It was also easy to process the metal on an industrial scale in a wide variety of materials and applications.


In the past, manufactured bowling balls containing asbestos. These include bowling balls were produced by the US company Ebonite Ltd. The asbestos was used as aggregate in the bowling balls used to counteract this to give more strength and shrinking of the material. The bowling balls with asbestos produced in the sixties and seventies, the eighties was switched to alternative materials and the manufacture of asbestos bowling balls was then discontinued.



To make sure that the billiard table on a pool table stays dry and the billiard balls roll better, a pool table heated with an electric heating element. This heating is often covered with a cement slab. Many billiard tables from the twentieth century, Dutch also of producers, are provided with such an asbestos plate on the bottom of the table. With the introduction of an asbestos ban in the Netherlands, these asbestos sheets gradually replaced with new pool tables from shale or other fire retardants; one can still encounter asbestos cement slab in old billiard tables for 1993. Not only is the pool tables in the past were fitted with asbestos, but there are also billiard balls manufactured products containing asbestos. These asbestos billiard balls were mainly made in the first half of the twentieth century and consisted of a metal exterior and an asbestos-filled core.


To apply lines to tennis courts, a particular type of paint is used. In many cases, this will be utilized made of a product that bears the name Novatex. Although the manufacturer in the twentieth century indicates the product that no asbestos in the product is processed, is mentioned in various sources which indeed asbestos has been added to this product in the past. Besides the use of materials containing asbestos in the courts of asbestos can be used in tennis balls too. In the seventies is applied for a patent on a method to repair leaks in tennis balls using a hypodermic needle with the application of an asbestos-containing coating on the inside of these tennis balls. Whether or not this method is also effectively applied in the Netherlands is not known.


In the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century, there have been baseball gloves various brands in the United States where asbestos was processed. The asbestos was treated as padding in the interior of the gloves. The biggest producers of asbestos baseball gloves were Spalding and Wilson. South Korea emerged in 2011 uproar following the discovery of asbestos in the gravel layer that was applied in the fields of various baseball stadiums. The gravel came from an area with a natural asbestos contamination.


Sports facilities

In floors of gymnasiums, asbestos can be incorporated into a waterproofing layer. A common asbestos-containing material that is used for this purpose is a mastic or bitumen layer. However, it can also be an asbestos felt layer have been applied. These asbestos applications are mainly used under wooden floors of basketball, but can also be found among tennis courts. Except under sports flooring can at the rear of a basketball backboard also be found an asbestos-containing bitumen layer. Also at miniature golf, one can encounter asbestos-containing materials. Some miniature in the Netherlands has an area of asbestos.

Notable uses of asbestos

There are some cases known of the use of asbestos in sport and play items where one would not expect this directly. Thus, asbestos found on particular types of wheels of roller skates and skateboards to let it wear more slowly. In the United States surfaced plastic poker chips containing asbestos. In the thirties by the English company “The Asbestos & Rubber Co.” even produced golf clubs in which asbestos was used.

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