Asbestos is a heat-resistant fibrous mineral that can be woven into products and fabrics which are used in fire-resistant and insulating materials.
Common misspellings: Espestice, abestos, asbesto, aspestos, aspestis
Uncommon misspellings: Asbetos, absestos, aspestus, asbestus, asbestis
What is Asbestos?
It is a mineral found in soil which consists of silicon, hydrogen and other metal ions. The fibers are tiny and shaped like needles and can only be seen if the air is very heavy. It is the perfect material for insulation because it is flexible, strong, and does not burn. In order to be produced, it needs to be combined with another material to be useful because the fibers are too small to be used alone. Once the fibers are mixed with other materials an asbestos containing material is produced.
Social and political awareness to the dangers of exposure to asbestos has been a very slow process. It has been part of industrial products since approximately 1879 and the first case of this type of cancer was documented in 1935 in the United States. There are many industrial products that are made from asbestos, such as insulation for pipe, cements, textile, spackling on walls, patching, gaskets, sheet material, ceiling tiles in your home or in your schools, etc. It has been used for years in the shipping industry and automotive industry as well.
Dust is created from the deterioration of the asbestos materials mentioned above. When the deteriorated products are disturbed or when the materials fall apart, crumble, or are damaged or ripped, it is released into the air where it will hang for long periods of time. This is when it because extremely dangerous because the tiny fibers are now susceptible to be inhaled and/or digested which can lodge deeply into the lining of the lungs, intestines, heart, and rarely, the testis.
Do you know the cities, companies, and job sites in your state that are KNOWN for asbestos exposure? Be prepared! Be informed! Learn more by clicking on your state in the picture above or simply on the following button.
History of Asbestos
Where did Asbestos come from?
This toxic mineral is found in most all residential and industrial buildings that were refurbished or built prior to the year 2000. Many of the common materials that are used to build homes and buildings contain it as well. Click the following link to learn where the most common asbestos locations are.
Mining for this mineral grew strong at the beginning of the industrial revolution in the late 1800’s. Commercial and practical use became standard and widespread during that time. In the beginning of the 19th century blue asbestos was found in Africa and soon after Canadians established the world’s first espestice mines which were mined for commercial purposes and the production grew worldwide. More than 30,000 tons were produced annually. Women and children became part of the industry workforce carding, preparing, and spinning raw fibers while the men worked in the mines.
As early as 1906 it was becoming apparent that the workers in these mines were dying unnaturally young. In 1908 insurance companies in the U.S. and Canada began to decrease both coverage and benefits and at the same time increases premiums for those employed in or around the mines.
In the U.S. there was a demand for cost-effective and mass-produced construction materials based on the growing population. In which, this mineral met the criteria perfectly and the U.S. became the world’s number 1 buyer, which was supplied by Canada.
In the early 1970’s a moratorium on the production was put into effect by the Federal government. However, the products continued to be used into the late 70’s and early 80’s, with some materials such as cement pipe into the 1990’s. The United States still does not ban materials that contain these harmful minerals, but its use has declined dramatically. The last mine closed in 2002 after producing almost a century’s worth of product around the world.
6 Types of Asbestos
SerpentineThis asbestos has a structure that is layered with curly fibers. It is called Chrysotile and it is the only type in this category. This type was used most often in buildings in the U.S. and throughout the world because of its fireproof and heat-resistant qualities.
AmphiboleThese asbestos fibers are like long chains that are straight and sharp and very easily inhaled. This category consists of the remaining five asbestos minerals: amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and actinolite. Both amosite and crocidolite were used in many products until the 1980’s, with amosite likely to be the second most type found in buildings.
- Becker, N., Berger, J., & Bolm-Audorff, U. (2001). Asbestos exposure and malignant lymphomas – a review of the epidemiological literature. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 74(7):459-469.
- Aderson, Henry A. Lillis, Ruth. Daum, Susan M. Fischbein, Alf S. Selikoff, Irving J. Household-Contact Asbestos Neoplastic Risk. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1976. Vol. 271: 311-323.
- Mowe, Gunnar. Gylseth, Bjorn. Hartveit, Flora. Skaug, Vidar. Occupational asbestos exposure, lung-fiber concentration, and latency time in malignant mesothelioma. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health. 1984 Vol. 10: 293-298.
- Environmental Working Group. The Asbestos Epidemic in America. Retrieved from http://www.ewg.org/
- Dodson, R. and Hammar, S. (2006). Asbestos: Risk Assessment, Epidemiology, and Health Effects. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.
- American Society of Clinical Oncology. Gastrointestinal Cancers Overview. Retrieved from http://www.asco.org/
- National Cancer Institute – Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results. (2011). SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Kidney and Renal Pelvis. Retrieved fromhttp://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/kidrp.html
- Asbestos. ATSDR. Retrieved From: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/asbestos/. Retrieved on 3/24/16.
- Insitutute of Medicine (2006). Asbestos : selected cancers / Committee on Asbestos: Selected Health Effects Washington D.C.. Institute of Medicine of National Academies. Retrieved on 3/24/16.
- Barker, J.M., Kogel, J.E., Krukowski, S.T., & Trivedi, N.C. (Eds.). (2006). Retrieved on 3/24/16.
- Keyes, Dale. (1985). Guidance for Controlling Asbestos-Containing Materials in Buildings. Diane Publishing Co.
- Boutin, C., Schlesser, M., Frenay, C., Astoul, Ph., Malignant pleural mesothelioma. European Respiratory Journal. ISSN 0903-1936. Retrieved from: http://www.ersj.org.uk/content/12/4/972.full.pdf Retrieved on 3/24/16.
- Kelly, Thomas D., Matos, Grecia R. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 140. Historical Statistics for Mineral and Material Commodities in the United States. (2010). Retrieved from: http://minerals.usgs.gov/ds/2005/140/ Retrieved on 3/24/16.
- Center for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Worker Health Chartbook 2004. Figure 2-171. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-146/pdfs/2004-146.pdf Retrieved on 3/24/16.
- LaDou, J., Castleman, B., Frank, A., Gochfeld, M., Greenberg, M., Huff, J., Tushar K. J., Landrigan, P., Lemen, R., Myers, J., Soffritti, M., Soskolne, C., Takahashi, K., Teitelbaum, D., Terracinim, B., and Watterson, A. Environmental Health Perspectives. A Case for a Global Ban on Asbestos. (Abstract). Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920906/?tool=pmcentrez Retrieved on 3/24/16.