What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a gathering of minerals, in spite of the fact that it is regularly alluded to as only one mineral. This gathering of minerals incorporates six diverse sinewy substances: amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite. These minerals are silicate-based, which means they are made to a great extent of silicon and oxygen, and their structure is comprised of packs of long, meager filaments that can be pulled separated.
Asbestos has been dug and utilized for quite a long time in light of the fact that long prior individuals understood that it has valuable physical and compound properties. It is solid; it ingests sound well; it opposes warmth and flame; it opposes power; and it opposes response with numerous synthetics that are destructive to different materials. Notwithstanding these properties it is copious and cheap. In spite of the fact that it has been being used for a huge number of years, mining and utilization of asbestos just achieved a vast scale during the 1800s.
Types of Asbestos
Chrysotile asbestos is serpentine and has long wavy strands. This is the sort of asbestoshas regularly been utilized in development. While alternate asbestos minerals have shorter, needle-like strands, chrysotile has long filaments can be woven into helpful materials. Due to its long fiber development, chrysotile can be utilized for a wide scope of utilizations.
Asbestos types are here and there arranged by shading. Chrysotile, for example, is called white asbestos. Crocidolite is otherwise called blue asbestos. Crocidolite is the most risky asbestos mineral since its strands are fine and sharp. These properties make them less demanding to breathe in and cause inner harm to the body. Despite the fact that not utilized as frequently as chrysotile, blue asbestos has been utilized in tiles, protection, concrete, and different materials, particularly on maritime boats.
Amosite is frequently alluded to as dark colored asbestos. Dark colored asbestos is additionally more hurtful than chrysotile due to little, sharp strands. Around five percent of asbestos utilized in development in the U.S. is dark colored asbestos.
Asbestos can likewise be named either friable or non-friable. This does not allude to a specific kind of mineral, but rather to how the asbestos is utilized. Friable asbestos can be effectively disintegrated, uncovering hazardous filaments. In the event that a material is non-friable, the asbestos is all around exemplified and can’t be disintegrated effectively. This makes non-friable asbestos more secure than friable asbestos.
History of Asbestos in the U.S.
In the U.S., asbestos has been utilized since the late 1800s. Amid the Industrial Revolution, there was a colossal blast in development of structures and ships. This place asbestos in intense interest. It was blended into concrete to include quality. Asbestos was likewise utilized in protection materials and insulating materials. It was utilized broadly on boats particularly as protection on steam and heated water funnels and boilers. Asbestos was additionally normally used to ingest sound.
Today, asbestos can be found in old roof tiles, floor tiles, pastes and different glues, plastics, vermiculite planting items, paints, coatings, brake shoes, grip cushions. It can likewise be found in and numerous different materials utilized in development of structures and ships.
During the 1970s, the utilization of asbestos was at long last confined in the U.S. A few distinctive government organizations have prohibited or limited asbestos use. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started prohibiting asbestos in 1973. It prohibited splash on asbestos insulating and protection items, and other protection containing friable asbestos.
In 1989, the EPA prohibited about all asbestos-containing materials. In any case, that choice was toppled by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has additionally issued bans, including chimney materials containing asbestos and asbestos in divider fixing mixes.
Asbestos Use Today
Today, many industrialized countries have completely banned the use of asbestos. While the United States has not completely banned the substance, asbestos use has been limited to certain products. Some of the asbestos-containing materials still in use today include:
Drum brake linings and disk brake pads
Components in automatic transmissions
Vinyl floor tiles
Corrugated and other cement sheets
Exposure to asbestos occurs when the tiny fibers pull apart, become airborne, and are inhaled or ingested. Fibers become dust in the air and settle on surfaces. When this happens, anyone in the vicinity is at risk of inhaling or ingesting them. Materials that legally containing asbestos must have the fibers well encapsulated. This makes them non friable so they cannot easily become airborne. However, if any of these materials become damaged, there is potential the asbestos will get in the air and people will become exposed.
The reason asbestos exposure is so dangerous is the tiny fibers become lodged in body tissue, remaining there for long periods of time. This can ultimately lead to tissue damage, inflammation, and possibly serious health conditions that may present symptoms years after initial exposure. The area of the body most susceptible to fiber lodging is the lungs. The biggest health risks associated with asbestos exposure are respiratory illnesses and cancers.
All types of asbestos are known human carcinogens. This means they can cause cancer after exposure. Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare but aggressive type of cancer. Exposure may also increase the risk of other types of cancer, including gastrointestinal, colorectal, throat, kidney, gallbladder, and esophageal cancers.
Mesothelioma is the rare type of cancer that affects the thin layers of tissue surrounding most organs. This is called the mesothelium. The most common type of mesothelioma affects the lining around the lungs, called the pleura. Mesothelioma may also occur in the abdomen, around the heart, and in the testicles. Exposure to asbestos is the biggest risk factor for mesothelioma, but not everyone exposed will develop it. This is an aggressive type of cancer that is often not diagnosed until it is in the later stages. For these reasons, a diagnosis of mesothelioma is usually a death sentence and it cannot often be cured.
Asbestosis can also be caused by exposure. It is a progressive disease that causes scarring of lung tissue. It can be mild or severe, causing difficulty breathing, a chronic cough, and chest tightness and pain. There is no way to reverse or heal from asbestosis scarring. It only gets worse with time, although some treatments can bring temporary relief from symptoms and make breathing easier.
In addition to being exposed to asbestos fibers, there are several factors that increase the risk that someone will develop an asbestos-related illness. For example, smoking also significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Dose and duration of asbestos exposure are also important. The larger the amount of exposed asbestos and the longer exposure occurred, the greater the risk. The type of asbestos is also a factor, with blue and brown being more dangerous than white.
Who is at Risk for Asbestos Exposure and Related Illnesses?
Everyone who is exposed to asbestos has some degree of risk. For most people, it is not a concern. However, for individuals who have breathed contaminated air, there is a much greater risk of illness. Those at the most risk for mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other related conditions, are individuals repeatedly exposed to asbestos for many years.
Most people with extreme exposure have worked in an environment with asbestos for decades. Professions with the highest risk include miners, construction workers, shipbuilders and repairers, factory workers making asbestos-containing materials, firefighters, autoworkers, and more.
Members of the U.S. Navy were also exposed for decades on ships.
Rescue workers and individuals in the area at the World Trade Center attacks were also exposed. While 9/11 did not expose people for a long period of time, it did expose the area to a large dose of asbestos fibers.
Second hand asbestos exposure is also a risk. Family members of many of these workers were exposed and affected by fibers brought home on clothing.
Today, these professions experience a reduced risk for asbestos exposure due to regulations changes. However, some risk still remains. Even people who don’t work around asbestos may be exposed. Today, Older homes are a common source of asbestos fibers. Homes built before the 1970s may contain asbestos, and remodeling projects could lead to exposure. Professionals trained in asbestos abatement can safely remove or encapsulate asbestos in homes.
Lawsuits, Settlements, and Trust Funds
Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses were never aware they had experienced asbestos exposure. Employers and asbestos material manufacturers are often considered liable for this unwilling dangerous exposure.
If you were exposed to asbestos without your knowledge, you have recourse to seek compensation. If your illness can be linked to asbestos on the job or in the military, you may be eligible to receive a settlement. Some companies have been required to establish trust funds to provide compensation to those affected by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is usually not diagnosed for decades after exposure, so these companies have set money aside for future cases.
If you were exposed to asbestos and a company can be found negligent, you may be eligible to receive payment from trust funds, lawsuits, or settlements. Let a lawyer with experience help guide your next steps and help you make your case.