Asbestos is a group of highly fibrous minerals with separable, long, and thin fibers. Separated asbestos fibers are strong and flexible so that it can be woven as well as spun. It is a considered a miracle evil as it is heat resistant and is extremely useful for industrial purposes, but it is seen to be causing life threatening asbestos diseases like mesothelioma. Due to their durability, asbestos fibers that get into lung tissue will remain for long periods of time.
As it is resistant to heat, chemical damage, electricity, sound absorption as well as tensile strength, it is extensively used by manufacturing as well as construction companies.
It is also mixed with cement to make fabric or mats. Due to its heat resistance, asbestos is also used in gaskets, brake shoes, electric oven and wiring of hotplates. Asbestos is also used in building materials for insulation and as a fire retardant like in furnaces, pipes, roof shingles, textured paints, coating materials, and floor tiles.
Asbestos is a silicate mineral containing of silicon, oxygen, hydrogen, and various metals.
Materials containing asbestos is substandard, spoiled or removed which results in release of fibers or dust.in the air.
Due to the fineness of its fibres, it can be dangerous and its inhalation can cause lung diseases, mainly:
- Asbestosis leading to scarring of the lungs
- disease of the lining of the lung (pleura) or mesothelioma
- lung cancer
All types of asbestos exposure lead to cancerous or non-cancerous diseases which usually show its symptoms 10 to 30 years after asbestos exposure.
The first asbestos related cases were found among the British. These workers at some point due to their working in mills, mines, construction companies, factories, companies involved in processing of asbestos or when removing asbestos dust.