Asbestos is a natural mineral that is famous for its incombustible, heat resistant and fireproof properties. Asbestos has been used for many years in construction and other industries like insulation, ship building, automobile, and construction and cement industries. Asbestos has been mined for its advantageous effects such as high tensile strength, strong thermal and chemical stability as well as insulating property.
As a natural fiber, asbestos has been used since 2,000 years, was used in wicks of flames, funeral dresses for cremation of kings and napkins which were thrown into the fire for cleaning. Greeks were the first to mine this natural mineral which means “inextinguishable” or “unquenchable.” Egyptians used asbestos cloths to embalm their pharos or kings. Persians also used asbestos cloth to wrap their dead. In addition, asbestos has been called by several different names, for instance Romans called asbestos amiantus", means "unpolluted". Moreover, it was also known as ‘mountain leather, ‘incombustible linen,’ and ‘rock floss’.
Asbestos can be divided into two forms depending upon its crystalline structure. Serpentine has curly fibers and a layered structure while Amphibole has straight, narrow and thin fibers. Asbestos is further categorized into following six different types:
Today, asbestos is well known for its hazardous effects which can lead to much serious health concerns such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. When asbestos fibers become airborne, they can easily be inhaled or swallowed and become deposit in the lungs for long periods of time. Once the fibers enters the body, many serious and chronic local inflammation occur which leads to the development of asbestos related diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Asbestos can be used for a variety of purposes, specifically in duct and pipe insulation, insulation in buildings, along with ceiling and wall panels. This toxic mineral was used in thousands of products, was prominently used in steel mills, power plants, chemical plants, factories, shipyards, brake linings and pads, construction and demolition, flooring tiles, patching, spackling, roofing materials, furnaces and telephone industry.
Individuals who worked in shipyards, construction industries, and mechanics have been exposed to the asbestos and have become victims of mesothelioma. The use of asbestos in aerosol containing products was banned in 1973 and later other asbestos containing products were also banned.
Asbestos has been proven to be the cause of serious health concerns such as mesothelioma asbestosis and pulmonary fibrosis. Individuals who have been exposed to asbestos are at great risk for developing asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma (http://mesoblog.org/). Those who have been simply exposed to the clothing of those worked frequently in asbestos jobsites are also at high risk for being developed with mesothelioma.
Anyone who worked in asbestos jobsites such as industries, factories, plants and other places where asbestos is handled should wear protective clothing to avoid the contact of asbestos fibers through clothing. These protective wear should only be used for asbestos management to avoid affecting other people and places where asbestos is not present. Besides this, people should have to be aware of this carcinogen and its deadly consequences and they should be informed about how they can avoid inhaling this deadly carcinogen.