While asbestos has been appropriately vilified for its role in causing life-threatening and already fatal diseases, it is important to understand all about the substance so that you can know how it became popular, where it might be in your ecosystem, and what sorts of disorders that it causes. Although asbestos has been phased out in the United States starting in the 1980s, it is nevertheless a very real presence today as mesothelioma diagnoses are not supposed to peak until 2016.
First, let’s take a fleeting look at the history of asbestos. It has been popular substance for thousands of years, with its presence being recorded already as far back as 3,000 years ago as chinking in living structures found in modern-day Finland. Additionally, ancient Greeks and Romans also appreciated the substance for its flame-retardant capabilities. However, already scholars from these times noted the health risks associated with prolonged, intense asbestos exposure.
After a period of obscurity, asbestos again rose to our notice during the Industrial dramatical change. Due to the need for insulating materials to protect against the exponentially increasing presence of motors and engines, people turned to asbestos. Since then, it spread into the shipping, automotive, and construction industries, among others. It was once found in everything from vinyl flooring to stage curtains to car gaskets.
Asbestos has certain qualities that make it so useful. First, it is a silicate mineral, and silicates have a number of advantageous similarities. Silicates are resistant to heat, flame, chemicals, electricity, and biodegradation. In addition to these qualities, asbestos has some rare characteristics of its own that contributed to its popularity. It has high tensile strength and flexibility, which allows it to be additional to almost anything.
However, asbestos can easily be divided into a multitude of microscopic fibers that can become lodged in your body whether inhaled or ingested. The body is unable to digest and break down asbestos fibers, which method that they can stay in your body for years. The body forms nodules around the fibers, which can turn into cancer and other diseases.
There are several disorders that can be caused by asbestos, including:
After recognizing these problems, people began to call for the outlawing of asbestos chiefly beginning in the 1970s. consequently, the United States government finally took certain measures to protect us against asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency issued the Asbestos Ban and Phase-Out in 1989, which prevents against adding the material to new products and spreading older products that already contain asbestos.
Sadly, this ban came too late for many people. Asbestos is nevertheless very much a presence in our lives, in things like brake pads and housing insulation for homes built before the phase-out. Treating an asbestos-related disease can be difficult and expensive. If you or someone you know has been illegally exposed to asbestos, relating in mesothelioma or another such disease, you should talk to a lawyer about your options.
For more information, contact an asbestos attorney at the firm of Williams Kherkher today.