Asbestos History

Posted on Monday, March 14th, 2016 at 1:19 pm    

Asbestos exposure is the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Inhalation of the fibers is caused by asbestos deterioration, cutting, drilling or disturbing; the microfibers enter the air thus, inhalation is made possible.

Asbestos History

In the 1800s asbestos quickly became a commercial product in America. It was famously used in the lining for steam engines in 1828. In the 1880s asbestos deposits were found in the U.S. and this established the mining of asbestos for commercial use. Asbestos quickly reached fame due to its properties of being cheap, flexible, durable, fire resistant and an insulator. From the early 1900s to the 1970s asbestos was the perfect material for various products that needed durability and fireproofing. During World War II, asbestos was used in the shipbuilding industry to line tanks and insulate pipes.

Products manufactured with asbestos were numerous; from general household products to automotive and construction products. Some examples are:

  • Automotive parts gaskets, clutches, brake pads, valves, hood liners

    Asbestos Sad Iron, 1906

    Advert for an Asbestos Sad Iron with one asbestos-lined hood plus handle, and asbestos stand, 1906.

  • Household items roofing tiles, asbestos sheets, irons, ceiling and flooring tiles
  • Vinyl products
  • Textile cloth and garments
  • Cigarette filters
  • Construction products adhesives, insulation, cement
  • Fireproofing

Doctors started noting respiratory conditions in patients working around asbestos in the late 1800s. The first asbestosis case was reported in 1907. Later, it was discovered that mesothelioma and lung cancer were associated with asbestos exposure. The first documented case of mesothelioma was reported in 1964. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission took a stance and banned asbestos-containing patching compounds. Globally more than 40 countries have totally banned the use of asbestos.

In America today, all products produced with asbestos must adhere to a strict law of containing 1% of the mineral.

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