Asbestos And Mesothelioma
Asbestos is a term that is used to classify a series of minerals that all essentially have the same makeup and are used in the same fashion. Actinolite, anthophyllite, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, and chrysotile are the six most common types of asbestos.
Asbestos has been used ever since the ancient era of the Roman Empire. It was discovered and mined due to its strength and fire resistant attributes. It was also found as an element in textiles used in many Roman buildings. The fibers were often used as table cloths and were easily cleaned in fire. Asbestos is also known to have been used by the Egyptians and Greeks.
Because of the inherent qualities of asbestos, it was used heavily during the 1800s. Those who were in business to make money saw asbestos as a material that could be mined and sold for use in construction, railroads, and the piping industry. Later, it became common to use asbestos as insulation for the hot steam pipes utilized in shipbuilding. Steam boats were becoming very popular, and in order to keep fires from igniting, the mineral appeared to be the perfect fire retardant.
As time went on, manufacturers found other various uses for asbestos. The mineral could be found in automotive brakes and the clutch. Also, during a time when skyscrapers were gaining popularity, the mineral was used as insulation and commonly found in the braking element of elevators. In general, it was used to keep things insulated. Office buildings, commercial structures, and even schools were laced with asbestos.
Methods were developed to use asbestos fibers in joint compound, wallboard, siding, cement pipes, floor and ceiling tiles, gutters, and a variety of other products. Some thought that the mineral was a miracle substance. However, since earlier times there was evidence that contact with the fibers during mining or demolition caused an ailment of the lungs.
Asbestos became extremely popular. It was being used in all sorts of goods including coffee pots, blankets, and even cosmetic products. Many innocent people were inadvertently inhaling the fibers and would potentially face disastrous consequences. The most popular timeframe during which asbestos was used was between the 1940s and 1970s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put out warnings and regulations as the connection between asbestos and lung conditions became more apparent. As a result of the long latency period that mesothelioma had, these warnings came far too late to save lives.
Chrysotile asbestos mines were shut down in many areas, but some countries still mined and exported the mineral all over the world. Many companies, even within the United States, continued to import the material for use in their products, thus increasing the chances for people to come into contact with the mineral.
Asbestos became commonplace in construction and is still found in hundreds of thousands of structures throughout the US and the world. The dangers of asbestos are still very prevalent, and workers in common jobsites such as shipyards, piping industries, and metalworking are still in danger of asbestos exposure. This disease is by no means near its end. Every time a house or building is demolished, there is a danger of asbestos being disturbed and becoming airborne. When disasters such as that of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina strike, buildings are destroyed, and asbestos is undoubtedly thrown into the air to be inhaled by first responders and victims.