Asbestos Facts You Might Not be Aware Of

Asbestos Facts You Might Not be Aware Of

In recent years we have been almost bombarded with tales of the harmful effects of asbestos.  It is dangerous if inhaled. If it is in your building, you should contact asbestos removal contractors as soon as possible.

 There are some interesting facts that you may not be aware of.

The word comes from the Greek which means inextinguishable.  It is a natural group of minerals that were found to be strong, flexible, and, most importantly, fire resistant, thus its name.  Starting in the 1800s it was mined and then incorporated into daily life because of its numerous qualities.

Movie and television magic created the appearance of snow by using a form of asbestos.  Remember the Wizard of Oz scene in the poppy fields?  That “snow” that awakens the main characters was Chrysolite, or white asbestos.  In addition, it was used in cigarette filters, make up, and talcum powder.  Early versions of hair dryers in salons contained asbestos so that the customers would not get burned from the high heat.

There are two major groups:  Serpentine and Amphibole.  Serpentine only has one element, Chrysolite.  This is the substance we are most familiar with and it comes in sheets of crystals.  Amphibole has several different varieties.

  • Amosite, “brown asbestos,” is one of the highest risks since its fibers are needle-like.  This has been used for cement and pipe insulation, electrical, and thermal insulation and fire proofing.
  • Crocidolite, “blue asbestos,” is found as very fine particles, as thin as a strand of hair, which makes it extremely dangerous.  Used as cloth and cement insulation, it has less heat resistance and was not as widely used.
  • Tremolite can be gray, brown, green, or white and is included in other products like talc and vermiculite.  It is used primarily in plumbing, roofing materials, and paint.
  • Vermiculite is often found included in potting soil, insulation (including spray on) and plasterboard.
  • Anthophyllite is one of the rare versions.  It is gray and not used extensively.
  • Actinolite is dark and also not used very often, although it can be combined with vermiculite.

The earliest recorded pulmonary death now attributed to asbestos was Nellie Kershaw in 1924.  She worked for 19 years in a factory town.  In 1931 regulations about the use of asbestos were finally published.

Asbestos fibers enter the lungs and then weaken the pulmonary cells, resulting in breathing problems.  There is no level of exposure to asbestos that is safe.  Even a single exposure can put an individual at risk.  Continued exposure builds and compounds.  Smoking increases the chances for mesothelioma.  Smoking alone will not cause mesothelioma, but will make the lungs more susceptible to the asbestos fibers as they are inhaled. If you are worried there is asbestos in your building, contact us today.

In some cases, the symptoms of mesothelioma do not appear for decades, up to 40 or 50 years.  There are many jobs or positions that will put someone at risk, including librarians, doctors, landscapers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers.  Family members are at risk from second-hand exposure.  Although the use of asbestos is greatly reduced and in some instances, eliminated, there are continued cases diagnosed.

Although there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, there are a number of treatments and prescriptions that can ease breathing and loosen congestion.

Alex john

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