Boston is a city of buildings that were constructed at a time when asbestos was heavily used in virtually all aspects of construction. Yes, there are historical buildings in Beacon Hill that were built at time before the industrial revolution, but many of the buildings in our city were constructed during the Victorian era at the heart of the industrial revolution in the United States and Western Europe. This is the reason we have so many Victorian style buildings and Queen Ann Victorians with large round towers and ornate exteriors.
As time went on, and newer buildings were constructed including the three deckers we find all over Boston, asbestos was still used heavily. It was used because of its abundance, which made it cheap, and the fact that it is naturally resistant to heat, fire, caustic chemicals, and electricity. It is also an excellent chemical bonding agent, as was discovered later. For this reason, asbestos fibers were added to many different construction products. It was used in flooring materials including tiles, and wallboard materials, as drywall was replacing plaster as the material of choice, and wall joint compounds. Continue reading →