What is Asbestos and Why is it Dangerous?

Asbestos is a term commonly associated with harmful carcinogens and disease related substances that were used heavily in the productions of our homes, factories and many WWII naval vessels.

Asbestos is a singles term for a variety of naturally occurring silicates with a fibrous nature and many useful applications.

There are actually six different types of asbestos as legally described in the US Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) of 1986, that effectively controlled the use of this potentially hazardous material. There are six types of legally recognised asbestos as follow: chrysotile, anthophyllite, amosite, tremolite, crocidolite, actinolite.

In order to determine which form you are dealing with requires asbestos testing that can be done at many testing facilities.

Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?

Asbestos can be shattered into tiny microscopic fibers that can’t be detected by the senses, which allowed the use of the product to go on for more than a century completely unchecked. There are also no immediate symptoms to having large amounts of asbestos in the body system.

This allowed the use of this potentially fatal substance to be applied in just about every aspect of commercial and industrial productions.

But, the small fiber strap within the body never dissolve and the body fights long and hard to get rid of them. This results in scarring of the tissues and lots of inflammation in the vital organs. Eventually the damage can get so severe that the cell damage it causes is genetic.

The condition caused by asbestos in the body take many years to fully develop and most of the conditions being diagnosed today were caused by exposure long before the control measures were in place.

Asbestos exposure is extremely dangerous in any amount, but the very worst cases were from those who were exposed heavily to the use of this material in industrial and construction yards. The more asbestos is in the body the greater the conditions that can be caused.

Those working in the great shipyards during the first and second World Wars had one of the highest fatality rates.

What Products Contain Asbestos?

Since the 1800s, asbestos was used for its many practical applications in construction and even heat shielding. Asbestos, was just another word for insulation for many decades and the materials was soon in every part of the locomotives steam engines and other important features of the Industrial Revolution.

By the time, the twentieth century rolled around there was asbestos in every family home and power house.

Asbestos was available in huge amounts and was fairly easy to extract from the ground in large amounts. The big businesses looked for every possible application for the abundant resource. Fire-resistance was one of the most important uses for this material and it soon found abundant applications in construction for homes, barns and even skyscrapers.

Things got worse when the common talc powder used for babies and families also included asbestos materials. It wasn’t until the late 19070s and early 80’s that the true dangers of asbestos were made known to the public and massive limitations were placed on the use of this dangerous material.