What is Asbestos?

In the following post, we are going to share some general information about asbestos and just what it is.

All information provided below was retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/intheworkplace/asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals that is found in soil and rocks in many parts of the world. The fibers that make up asbestos are mainly silicon and oxygen, but there are other elements involved as well.

The two main types of asbestos are:

• Chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, is the most common type of asbestos in industrial applications.

• Amphibole asbestos fibers are straight and needle-like. There are several types of amphibole fibers, including amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite.

Both types of asbestos cause cancer, sometimes asbestos exposure causes a rare type of cancer called mesothelioma.

Asbestos fibers are strong, resistant to heat and to many chemicals, and do not conduct electricity. As a result, asbestos has been used as an insulating material since ancient times. Since the industrial revolution, asbestos has been used to insulate factories, schools, homes, and ships, and to make automobile brake and clutch parts, roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, cement, textiles, and hundreds of other products.

During the first half of the 1900s, growing evidence showed that breathing in asbestos caused scarring of the lungs. In the early 1900s, exposure to asbestos dust in the workplace was not controlled. Beginning in England in the 1930s, steps were taken to protect workers in the asbestos industry by installing ventilation and exhaust systems. However, in the huge shipbuilding effort during World War II, large numbers of workers were exposed to high levels of asbestos.

As asbestos-related cancers became better recognized in the second half of the 20th century, measures were taken to reduce exposure, including establishing exposure standards and laws that banned the use of asbestos in construction materials. There has been a dramatic decrease in importing and using asbestos since the mid-1970s, and alternative insulating materials have been developed. As a result, asbestos exposure has dropped dramatically in the United States. It is still possible to be exposed to asbestos in older buildings, water pipes, and other settings. Asbestos has been banned in the European Union for several years, although the ban did not require removal of asbestos that was already in place. Still, heavy asbestos use continues in certain countries. It wasn’t until July 2015 that Health Canada updated the information on its website regarding asbestos as a dangerous substance– (Please see our previous post on 8/4/2015).

To learn more about asbestos and how it affects your health, please visit http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/intheworkplace/asbestos for more information.

Asbestos exposure has been shown to cause malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and a variety of other cancers. If you or a friend has been diagnosed with asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma, please call us at 1(800)995-6991 for a free consultation.