What is asbestos?

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Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that can naturally be found across the globe including the US, Canada, China, and Brazil among others.  This mineral used to be one of the most sought-after minerals by various industries because of its high durability and fire-resistant properties.  In the construction industry, asbestos was often mixed with cement to make walls and buildings more durable and fire-proof.  Fire-fighter vests were also created with the use of asbestos fibers because they are heat-resistant.  Various other materials like floor tiles, roof shingles, and garments were made with asbestos because of its beneficial properties.

By the 1970s, the use of asbestos has been known to become a great health risk.  By the 1980s, the mining and use of asbestos was banned in many countries across the globe.  Asbestos has become a cancer-causing mineral causing many health experts to discourage its use from any industry.  The fibers of the asbestos mineral are said to be very small and microscopic and can be inhaled by people.  The problem is that these fibers stay in the lungs. The lungs’ inner cavity and lining are the commonly affected parts and they become rigid over time.  These parts of the lungs will then develop cancer cells causing a great health risk for people who are exposed to this mineral.  Serious conditions such as lung carcinoma, mesothelioma, and pneumoconiosis are among the dreaded diseases that are caused by exposure to asbestos.

Based on the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency, there are at least six known types of asbestos and these are amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, actinolite, anthohyllite, and tremolite.  All these types are all considered carcinogens and exposure to them may lead to serious lung disease or cancer. Despite the health risk associated with asbestos, many countries still mine and use asbestos for various purposes.

What is asbestos?

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