What is Asbestos
These are naturally occurring silicate minerals and are used for their beneficial physical properties. Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals used in certain products, such as building materials and vehicle brakes, to resist heat and corrosion. Asbestos includes amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite, and any of these materials that have been chemically treated and/or altered.
Asbestos was one of the world’s most valuable resources for thousands of years. Praised for its versatility, strength, and durability, asbestos was used in many products such as lamp wicks, insulation and clothing.
Reasons behind its popularity are cause of its properties like resistance to heat, electricity, fire or chemical damage. It can even absorb sound. It was preferred by most of the building firms cause of its properties and that it is cheaper than other products which are available for construction.
Despite of its advantages it was banned in the later 19th century as it was found that continuous exposure to it can cause serious damage to humans.
Only in the 20th century, as medical technology became more sophisticated, did doctors finally understood the affect it had on the human body. The great tragedy was that millions of people were exposed to thousands of deadly products, and a great deal of damage was already done by the time use was regulated in the 1970s.
The inhalation of asbestos fibers by workers can cause serious diseases of lungs and other organs that may not appear until years after the exposure has occurred. For instance, asbestosis can cause a build-up of scar-like tissue in the lungs and result in loss of lung function that often progresses to disability and death. Asbestos fibers associated with these health risks are too small to be seen with the naked eye, and smokers are at higher risk of developing some asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestos is responsible for number of fatal illnesses. The lightweight nature of the asbestos particle facilitates airborne spreading of these deadly carcinogens, so therefore most asbestos-related diseases affect the respiratory system. Even tiny amounts of asbestos can inflict irreversible damage, as symptoms usually only emerge 20 to 30 years after initial exposure. The major diseases caused by it are:
- Asbestosis is another fatal consequence of asbestos exposure. This deadly condition causes the parenchymal tissue within the lungs to become inflamed, which prevents proper air/blood exchange. Coping with asbestosis is a trying and difficult experience. Victims are often faced with few treatment options except expensive oxygen therapies, fluid drainage, and even a lung removal process called a pneumonectomy. Even with these drastic asbestosis treatment options, survival rates for victims of this deadly disease remain grim, at best.
- Asbestos induced lung cancer is rare, yet still dangerous consequence affecting thousands of innocent people across the United States. Victims of lung cancer caused by asbestos have usually been exposed to brown or blue asbestos.
- Asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma are consequences of prolonged asbestos exposure, as are several benign asbestos related diseases. Regardless, any contact with asbestos merits immediate medical consultation, for treatment options and survival rates are greatly improved with early detection.