Asbestos and the Environmental Effects

Topics: Asbestos, Lung cancer, Cancer Pages: 3 (986 words) Published: July 18, 2007
Hazardous materials can be silent killers, almost every household or workplace contains various harmful substances therefore it is important to have the basic knowledge of these contaminants, where to find them, and what to do if exposed. Asbestos is a natural occurring mineral that is used in a number of different materials. Asbestos is not a concern if left undisturbed; however renovation, reconstruction or demolition can disturb these materials and release asbestos fibers into the air. Asbestos fibers can be inhaled and become trapped in lung tissue which increases the risk for several serious diseases. Asbestos is a well recognized health hazard and is highly regulated. A natural mineral asbestos has been mined and used commercially in this country since 1880. It became a popular product due to its qualities and low cost. Asbestos is non-combustible, resistant to corrosion, an extremely high strength material, with a low electrical conductivity and its fibers are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals and are stable in the environment. The fibers do not evaporate in the air or dissolve in water and do not break down over time, it is the best insulator that man has. Its qualities resulted in approximately thirty-six hundred different commercial products containing asbestos. Many industries have used asbestos for example; the construction industry has used it for insulation, roofing, fireproofing, ceiling and floor tile, paints, coatings, adhesives and to strengthen cement and many plastics. The automotive industry uses it in brake shoes, clutch pads and many gaskets. In addition asbestos has been found in vermiculite-containing garden products and talc crayons. Based on many health studies it is recognized that asbestos can endanger human health, inhalation of asbestos fibers can get trapped into the lungs and can remain there for a long time. An uncontrolled disturbance of any asbestos containing material in any...

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