Asbestos Fibers in Fake Snow

From the mid-1930’s to the 1950’s fake snow contained dangerous chrysotile asbestos fibers. Where was this fake snow used?

In Homes: Cotton batting resembling blankets of snow was used to decorate homes until firefighters suggested switching to asbestos. Since the cotton was much more likely to start a large fire, asbestos fibers were suggested because they are resilient to heat and flame.

Christmas scene with Santa

In Stores: For retailers, the holidays meant bigger sales prompted by displays that evoked the magical feeling of Christmas. Fake snow was dusted in shop windows, around trees, and on products. The fibers were easily inhaled by store keepers and shoppers alike.

shop window at Christmas time

In Movies: Not only were chrysotile asbestos fibers used during the holidays, they were used year-round in many films of the time. In the scene where Dorothy and her friends fall asleep in a poppy field in The Wizard of Oz, it is actually asbestos fibers raining down on them.

the Wizard of Oz cast

If you know that you were exposed to asbestos fake snow in the past, it would be wise to alert your doctor. No amount of asbestos exposure is safe, and you might be at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our offices today.