Asbestos is the term used for a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals exploited commercially for their useful physical properties. These six are namely: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite.
Asbestos awareness – know the health risks!
Asbestos is the term used for a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals exploited commercially for their useful physical properties. These six are namely: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite. All commercial forms of asbestos (chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite), are known to be human carcinogens based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.
Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century because of its exceptional ability to resist fire, its high tensile strength and durability. Due to the exceptional usability of asbestos, it was used in numerous applications, thus making the identification and removal of asbestos an ongoing challenge.
There is an important distinction between the types of asbestos materials arising from how the asbestos fibres are set in the material matrix. The two different categories are bonded and un-bonded (bonded materials tend to be denser). In simple terms, the looser the asbestos fibres are set into the materials composition, the higher the risk of fibre release and subsequent exposure through accidental disturbance and upon removal.
Tragically, the health impacts from asbestos are still prominent today. Below are the asbestos related diseases.
Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs (pleura) and the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract (peritoneum). It is almost exclusively related to asbestos exposure and by the time it is diagnosed, it is usually fatal.
Asbestos-related lung cancer
Asbestos-related lung cancer is the same as (looks the same as) lung cancer caused by smoking and other causes. It is estimated that there is around one lung cancer for every mesothelioma death.
Asbestosis is a serious scarring condition of the lung that normally occurs after heavy exposure to asbestos over many years. This condition can cause progressive shortness of breath, and in severe cases can be fatal.
Pleural thickening is generally a problem that happens after heavy asbestos exposure. The lining of the lung (pleura) thickens and swells. If this gets worse, the lung itself can be squeezed, and can cause shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.
Know the risks – always get a qualified asbestos expert to survey and remove any asbestos on the premises.