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Asbestos in Fake Snow

Posted on by Asbestos Waste Solutions Limited

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, directors went to extreme lengths to create the perfect settings and shots, so when it came to wintery scenes, they had to find a non-flammable, non-melting substance for snow. Back in the 1930s, cotton wasn’t the immediate choice because it posed a fire risk and instead, asbestos was the chosen alternative. The most famous example of this being ‘The Wizard of Oz’, where asbestos was used on set to create snow in the poppy field scene. 

snow cannon

A blazing fire in a snow scene meant that asbestos and fire had to work well together and as it did, this was often the chosen material because it prevented fires from spreading. The pure, white fibres of asbestos were also used for special effects board and piping that lined film sets. Although it was not proven that movie stars and production staff were affected by the use of asbestos on set, it is more than likely thousands had health issues stemming from this. 


Asbestos was also sold commercially to those who wanted to create a festive atmosphere inside their home, labelled as fake snow, many people sprinkled this asbestos-based product around their home. It’s fluffy and easy cleanup, making it the ideal decoration for many domestic properties. On the plus side, homeowners would only use this fake snow seasonally, so users weren’t continually exposed throughout the year. 


It was not until World War II that production of asbestos-based fake snow was halted, because asbestos was needed for military operations instead, and was used on planes, ships and tanks. After it was confirmed asbestos has potentially fatal consequences, the use of asbestos on film sets slowly reduced until it was completely replaced with safer alternatives. 


Thankfully for us, modern fake snow is 100% asbestos-free, as we now possess the knowledge of just how dangerous asbestos can be. A UK based business called ‘Snow Business’ is regularly used on film sets to provide safe, eco-friendly, realistic looking snow. The use of asbestos for fake snow highlights how extensively asbestos was used in a lot of industries and how careful we have to be when entering older buildings – as we don’t know where it’s been applied. 


Asbestos Waste Solutions provide an effective and efficient asbestos disposal service for both domestic and commercial properties throughout the UK. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, you can be assured you’ll receive a comprehensive service from our fully qualified staff, who are on hand to answer any queries you may have. For more information on our services, please get in touch with a member of our team today.

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