Asbestos is useful as a heat-resistance and electric insulation material for construction. Garment manufacturers combine it together with other materials to increase the fiber’s durability.
Benefits aside, this material can cause serious diseases, especially respiratory symptoms. Let’s have an overview of it and its risks for health in this article.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural mineral group that comprises fibrous silicate of Calcium and Magnesium. The binding of small fibers makes its composition durable and reliable. These fibers are resistant to fire, water, chemicals, and sound.
The construction industry uses asbestos as an electrical insulator and a heat-resistant material. It is also applicable in the garment and textile industry by adding cloth and other materials to make them tougher.
However, is asbestos a pollutant? Yes, it is one of 5 indoor air pollutants that cause dangerous diseases.
Sources Of Asbestos
The worldwide miners have exploited asbestos from the US’s natural deposits since the late 1800s. Chronologically, this mineral appears in various countries with its extensive applications.
It becomes an indestructible component for the building and manufacturing materials. They are cement, plastic, or fabric to produce sturdy products. You can seek asbestos fibres in air, indoor, construction sites, or other places.
Many countries, including China, Russia, and Kazakhstan, also export this mineral. This also explains why asbestos is widely popular all over the world.
Types Of Asbestos
Asbestos includes two large categories (Serpentine and Amphibole) with six main types.
Serpentine is curly asbestos fibers. Chrysotile is the only type that belongs to the Serpentine asbestos category. This variant (white asbestos) is common most in building structures and automobile manufacture.
The straight asbestos fibers are in the Amphibole category. It consists of five smaller types: crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, amosite, and anthophyllite.
Amosite or brown asbestos is a prominent component of insulation items and thermal products. They include pipe, cement, or insulating board.
The cement, plastic products, insulating engines, or spray-on coatings contain a big volume of crocidolite (blue asbestos).
Anthophyllite has a green, white, or gray color. It makes up a small amount in the composition of building materials and insulating products.
Actinolite and tremolite exist in the chrysotile or talc as contaminants, making them less popular. Their colors are often brown, white, transparent, green, or gray.
Asbestos Risks For Health
Asbestos fibers contain many potential risks for your health. What is a possible health effect of exposure to smoke and asbestos in an indoor environment? They can result in various risks, but cancers and asbestosis are the two most serious diseases.
These toxic fibers can cause some types of cancers when inhaling them. The dangerous types are laryngeal cancer, ovarian, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Lung cancer and mesothelioma are the two most common out of four Asbestos-related types of cancers.
Asbestos in the air contributes to the rapid development of mesothelioma. This cancer type often grows in the lung linings (or pleura). It also exists in other organs such as the heart, testes, or abdomen.
Apart from mesothelioma, lung cancer that arises from smoke or asbestos indoor air pollution is also dangerous. It has been a potential cancer type for a long time. Most lung cancer victims don’t have the clear symptoms to go to the doctor soon and get timely treatment.
Major indoor air pollutants or outdoor asbestos fibers are the main culprits for asbestosis. Asbestosis is a serious disease that primarily occurs in the lung. It can damage the lung by causing inflammation and interstitial scars.
Some common asbestosis symptoms consist of chest pain and shortness of breath. It also leads to persistent cough, odd shapes of fingers and toenails, or fatigue.
To restrict the serious risks of asbestos air pollution for health, you should carefully clean your home, living areas, or workplace. An air test is necessary to control the asbestos fibers released with dust.
If you are using asbestos products or materials, seal or wrap them up to prevent this toxic mineral’s dangers.
You should also avoid vacuuming the debris or materials that contain asbestos. This way can quickly distribute the asbestos fibers into the air.
Besides, consulting with your local health department can help you receive the best asbestos-safe advice.
Through an overview of asbestos, you are fully aware of its benefits in life and risks for health. It is a strong material for the construction and manufacture to launch the perfect products.
Yet, its serious health dangers are also significant. Thus, you need to follow suit with the asbestos-using regulations to use it and protect your health at large.