Asbestos At Christmas – Fake Snow
by Connor Burke
Until the it was widely known of the dangers that asbestos caused it was used as fake snow due to its resemblance to the ideal pure white, fluffy snowfall that we dream of each year. It was used in a variety of different areas such as in the Christmas displays in department stores, in the many households that used it to decorate their trees, ornaments, wreaths and around the home and in the factories that were creating the asbestos based fake snow.
The entertainment industry also found use for the substance in both live theatre and in many movies made prior to the mid-1940s where suitable less toxic replacements were found. An example of the prolific use of fake snow in movies was the 1942 film ‘Holiday Inn’ during the infamous scene in which star Bing Crosby sang the classic ‘White Christmas’ as snow fell around him, that snow was made from chrysotile asbestos.
A large selling point for filmmakers was its fire retardant properties especially under the hot, bright lights in a film studio. The most famous fake snow products were brands ‘Pure White’ ‘White Magic’ and ‘Snow Drift’. These were replaced in movies by less toxic materials once the real dangers of the substance were revealed.
If we want to read more about the use of asbestos at Christmas read ur previous blog post on its use in Christmas decorations here.
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