The classic 1939 movie used asbestos in a number of ways, including using the toxic mineral as fake snow.


The snow in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz was made using the toxic mineral asbestos.

A lot has changed in the entertainment world since then, but the Judy Garland-starring movie still inspires creativity to this day, especially the practical effects that were utilized.

As it turns out, some of the tricks that the crew used were more than a little hazardous to the cast and crew, which included the use of asbestos. In the early to mid-1900s, asbestos was used a lot during the holidays as fake snow with dozens of brands popping up like, “White Magic,” “Pure White,” and “Snow Drift.”

The snow in The Wizard of Oz was asbestos, as was the scarecrow’s entire costume. (Photo: YouTube)

When asbestos is inhaled or ingested, the mineral fibers can probably turn out to be completely trapped within the physique.

Trapped asbestos fibers throughout the physique could cause lung irritation, scarring, and even genetic harm. The uncommon most cancers sort mesothelioma is nearly completely linked to asbestos exposure, together with different sorts of most cancers and lung illness.

With that being mentioned, it has not been formally confirmed that anyone from the set of The Wizard of Oz handed away from the asbestos use within the poppy discipline scene.

Along with the faux snow in The Wizard of Oz, asbestos was reportedly additionally used on Ray Bolger’s Scarecrow costume. Because the character has a number of run-ins with hearth within the film, it’s believed that his costume was sprayed with a flame-proofing materials constructed from asbestos.

An advertisement in a 1920 Saturday Evening Post for asbestos insulation. (Photo: University of Illinois/Public Domain)

Margaret Hamilton, who performed the Depraved Witch of the West, makes use of a burning broom, which was additionally made from asbestos to maintain it from really burning on the set.

The Wizard of Oz would be the most beloved movie of all time. Nevertheless, there have been various troubling points about its manufacturing. Buddy Ebsen, who initially performed the Tin Man, landed himself within the hospital for 2 weeks after the aluminum utilized in his make-up seeped into his physique, poisoning him within the course of.

He was changed with Jack Haley Jr. Margaret Hamilton was badly burned performing one of many smoke-filled disappearing stunts, and needed to be pushed to the hospital.

It took her six weeks to totally recuperate from her accidents. Snopes was the primary to verify that asbestos was used on The Wizard of Oz set.

Subjects: The Wizard of Oz


A version of this post originally appeared on Tedium, a twice-weekly newsletter that hunts for the end of the long tail.



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