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5 Facts You Need To Know About Asbestos
News about the harmful effects of asbestos has reached the far corners of the world. What was then considered a promising discovery has now become one of the deadliest toxins our planet has ever encountered. In the last ten years, information about the deadly effects of asbestos has spread like wildfire alarming billions of people worldwide particularly individuals who were exposed to asbestos. Like all other discoveries, asbestos was, for a time, put on a pedestal and it lasted for centuries. The demand for asbestos only stopped when cases of fatal disease conditions surfaced and all pointed to asbestos as the culprit.
Here are 5 important facts about asbestos you need to know about:
Fact#1: Asbestos Goes Way Back
Asbestos is a term used to describe a group of minerals that were believed but later on proven to be inextinguishable. Asbestos was first used in the year 1800s and because of its exceptional characteristics; asbestos soon gained immense popularity during the UK’s industrial era. Some of its venerated features include its incredible flexibility, outstanding strength, and exceptional resistant qualities. What makes this material unique is the fact that it can be woven and since it’s very versatile, it was dubbed as a “magic mineral”.
Fact#2: The Use of Asbestos is Legally Prohibited
When asbestos is disturbed it will release dust particles into the air and once inhaled can get lodged inside the lungs for years. Over time, it will result in serious health conditions such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. Asbestos was banned in many countries all over the world in the 1980s and 1990s. Sadly, in the year 2009, approximately two million tons of asbestos was mined in China and Russia – two of the world’s biggest producers of asbestos. Reports of asbestos-related deaths continuously increase year after year.
Fact#3: The UK Has The Highest Number of Cases of Mesothelioma
The UK is the top country with the highest incidence of mesothelioma. Shipbuilders are among the thousands whose health is badly compromised by mesothelioma – a terminal condition that is associated with the exposure of asbestos. Individuals who die from the disease are in the age of 65 years old and 80% of them are men.
The three main types of asbestos include Chrysotile or the white asbestos, Amosite or the brown asbestos and Crocidolite or the blue asbestos. The most common type of asbestos is chrysotile because of its heat resistant properties and flexibility making it a suitable material to make roofing materials, brake pads and cement. Amosite is known for its resistance to heat and its strength and is commonly used in electrical insulation, plumbing and used in making cement sheet. This type has the highest cancer risk out of all asbestos types. Crocidolite is very thin that they can easily be inhaled.
The first person that died of pulmonary asbestosis is Nellie Kershaw from Rochdale. She died in 1924. Studies were made after her death and it was then discovered that the cause of her death was due to asbestos. In 1931 the publication of Asbestos Industry Regulations was set. Nellie worked as a factory worker since she was twelve years old and she worked in the factory for nearly two decades before she succumbed to her death.
Understanding asbestos and how this toxic substance can destroy your health and subsequently your life is very important so you can help spread awareness and save lives.