Asbestos was once used widely in commercial and residential building projects. It is a strong substance that is even stronger than steel. It also is unaffected by heat, chemicals and does not conduct electricity. This all combined made asbestos a great building material. However, throughout the years many health problems have been associated with asbestos. Health problems first showed up in people that worked closely with asbestos, but it was soon realized that even those who did not work closely with it but were exposed to it may also suffer health problems.
There are a few different types of asbestos. Chrysotile, called white asbestos is the most common form of asbestos used in the United States. Amosite or brown asbestos is made from light gray or brown fibers. Crocidolite or blue asbestos is made of blue fibers. Chrysotile, Amosite and Crocidolite are forms of asbestos that were most commonly used to make products. Such products include building materials, sewage piping, roofing, siding, electrical wire casing, tiles, paints, and other construction materials. Asbestos was also used in automobiles for clutch and brake parts. In industrial settings, asbestos was used for filters in beverage machines, flooring, and cigarette filters. Asbestos was used on a great level for a variety of products thus making the discovery of its health risks important for everyone.
Asbestos is dangerous when breathed in. It is very hard to determine if asbestos is present in the air as it does not cause immediate problems like coughing or itchiness. Symptoms may not appear for 10 to 40 years after being exposed. Diseases caused by asbestos are hard to treat and most often impossible to cure. Asbestosis is one common asbestos-related disease. It causes inflammation in the lungs. Mesothelioma is a rare asbestos disease that is a cancer of the outside lining of the lungs and abdomen. Asbestos has also been associated with other forms of lung cancer. Asbestos-related diseases are very painful.
Asbestos is no longer used due to the health concerns surrounding it. Asbestos is most dangerous when a product made from it is bothered and the dust is released into the air. The only way to safely handle and detect asbestos is through a professional trained to work with asbestos.