Asbestos Simplified

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2016 at 3:17 pm    

Asbestos Simplified

Tracing back the history of asbestos, it can be noted that its usages date back to 1,500 years ago. The ancient Greeks were the first recorded people who used asbestos. The Greek word asbestos means inexhaustible.

Asbestos is the term given to a collection of six naturally occurring minerals, the six minerals are:

  • amosite
  • chrysotile,
  • crocidolite,
  • tremolite,
  • actinolite
  • anthophyllite

These minerals were mainly used for industrial purposes, but also household products like hairdryers and irons.

It became extremely popular during the industrial revolution. Its popularity was based on its unique qualities of fire resistance, flexibility, insulation, tensile strength and weather resistance. Its high flexibility and tensile strength made it very popular for usage for industrial purposes. It was used for construction purposes, steel piping, insulation, roofing and automobile parts like brake pads and gaskets. In the United States, asbestos was banned in the late 1970s.

When it is disturbed by breaking, sawing, tearing and/or wearing; tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air we breathe. Asbestos is dangerous once airborne, this is because it is difficult to expel once it enters the lungs. When it enters the lungs it becomes embedded in there and causes respiratory problems. There are four main ways of inhaling asbestos:

  • occupational (on the job) exposure
  • secondary (take home) exposure
  • environmental exposure
  • natural exposure

The inhalation of these tiny fibers over time causes respiratory diseases and even more so cancerous diseases. Some of these respiratory diseases are deadly. The two most deadly diseases, which have no known cure are mesothelioma and asbestosis.

The main symptoms in a patient include:

  • shortness of breath
  • prolonged cough,
  • fatigue,
  • chest pain,
  • loss of appetite,
  • weight loss,
  • fluid buildup,
  • difficulty swallowing,
  • dry cough

Treatment is available to patients who have mesothelioma or asbestosis. However, the treatment is to give the patient a better quality of life through relieving the pain caused by symptoms. Such treatment includes:

  • surgery
  • chemotherapy
  • radiotherapy



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