Whats Asbestos and why should I care about it?

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Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can form into a fluffy consistency. They are soft and flexible but they are also resistant to heat, electricity and corrosion. These three quality make them a high sought after mineral, but it can also make asbestos exposure highly toxic.

Asbestos is a very effective insulator and can be used in cloth, paper, cement, plastic and many more materials. However, when someone inhales asbestos dusts, the mineral fivers can be trapped in said persons body forever.

Over decades of time, these fibers can be trapped in the body and can produce the following:

• Mesothelioma

• Other Cancers

• Lung Disease

• Pleural effusions

• Asbestosis

• Pleural plaques

• Pleuritis

• Diffuse pleural thickening

• COPD

Where does exposure to this mineral usually happen? You can be exposed to it anywhere from school, to products you have used, on the job site, or even in the military. Asbestos is banned for this reason in many different countries except the United States.

In the United States, 6 types of asbestos are recognized in the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986:

• Crocidolite

• Amosite

• Anthophyllite

• Tremolite

• Actinolite

Where does asbestos come from?

Natural deposits are found all over the world, and were even once mined here in North America. Now they are primarily supplied by Russia, Kazakhstan and China. It is made by crushing asbestos ore to seperate out the other minerals in it until it has a soft wool like texture.

100% pure asbestos can be made into paper, felt, cloth or rope. It has also been mixed into cements, drywall compounds, plastics, paints, sealants and adhesives.

• Asbestos Related Careers

• Construction

• Electricity Generation

• Firefighting

• Heavy Industry

• Military Service

• Mining

• Ship Building

Safely Handling Asbestos

It is always best to leave the removing of asbestos to the experts, but if you really would like to do it yourself, you need to take some safe precautions:

• Seal off work area with plastic sheets

• Wear a respirator with a HEPA filter

• Wear disposable overalls and gloves

• Use a sprayer to keep the asbestos dusty wet and from flying in the air

• Clean the work area with wipes or a vacuum cleaner

• Dispose of all asbestos materials in a labeled bag

In conclusion, asbestos can be very deadly but if handled properly can really help your property out by fireproofing it.

Craig McPeck