About Asbestos

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral mined from serpentine rocks. It is a fibrous material belonging to the group of magnesium silicate minerals called ‘asbestiform'. Asbestos fibers are extracted from the rock after it is crushed. Asbestos is a bad conductor of heat and resisitant to melting and burning. This makes it ideal for insulation which is its primary use.

Asbestos fibers can easily stick to clothes and be inhaled and swallowed. Its exposure is thus very dangerous.

The four types of asbestos used in industries:

  • Chrysotile (white) asbestos which is the most commonly used

  • Crocidolite (blue) asbestos

  • Amosite (brown) asbestos

  • Anthophyllite  (gray) asbestos

What are the products that contain asbestos?

Some of the products that contain asbestos are-

  • Asbestos sprays and paints

  • Cements and adhesives

  • Thermal insulation products like pipe and block insulations

  • Asbestos threads/tapes and textiles

  • Cigarette filters

  • Fireproofing materials

  • Hair dryers

  • Resilient floor coverings like tiles and sundries

  • Phenolic and plastic resins

  • Racing helmets

  • Gypsum Products

  • Detackifying and demolding agents

  • Work gloves

  • Machine components like brake linings, transmission and insulating components and gaskets

Where is it used?

Asbestos was known to cause ill-effects as early as the 1930's, but companies continued its unabated use without informing their workers about the potential dangers of its exposure. But by the 1970's, there was widespread publicized concern over its dangers and thus asbestos consumption faced a sharp decline. However, since the ‘incubation' or latency period of the disease is often two or three decades, many effects of past asbestos exposure are still to show up.

Related Links:

How Does Asbestos Cause Cancer?

Who is at Risk?

What are the Preventive Measures?




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