The “Miracle Mineral”
For close to a century, asbestos used to dominate almost all influential industries, all thanks to its unmatched properties. It is durable and smooth in texture, heat-resistant, and unreactive and above all, it is easily mined. In fact, back then, asbestos came to fit perfectly in almost every manufacturing sector, carving a niche in a slew of everyday products’ making.
However, that was when it was still a darling to many industrial raw materials as the plot is wholly different today. The once “miracle mineral” is a giant silent killer, even causing life-long illnesses and deaths indiscriminately. As it stands, all the six types of asbestos have identical traits; they are colorless and odorless and are not so easy to detect by visual examination.
What is Asbestos and how does the exposure happen?
Naturally occurring as a bundle of fine fibers, Asbestos is freely available and is frequently mined in soils and rocks all over the world. Each one of the six types of asbestos primarily contains silicon and oxygen with a couple of other elements. While all kinds are naturally hazardous and carcinogenic, the two most prevalent types are:
Chrysotile asbestos or the white asbestos that tend to appear in a spiral form
Amphibole asbestos that comes in several colors although they are often straight and needle-like
The exposure happens once one unknowingly swallows or inhales the dangerous fibers. Since they are odorless, detecting them in air is virtually impossible. Once in the body, the fibers are insoluble and will settle in the lungs, eventually causing the many asbestos-related diseases.
Since construction and renovation sites contain an extensive amount of products made using asbestos, they are, without a doubt, the leading contaminated occupational settings. When the structures begin to deteriorate, any disturbance – even the slightest – triggers the release of these fibers into the air. The danger isn’t just the disruption, but the threat of these compounds remaining in the air for fours. Remember, once they are in the lungs, there’s no simple way of getting rid of them, thus the many asbestos-related complications.
The dangers and diseases associated with asbestos today
You can imagine how perilous it can be, living with a huge chunk of these compounds inside one’s lungs. Every year, 2,000 to 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with the rare, but killer asbestos-related type of cancer; Mesothelioma. Since this condition has no cure, it means the equivalent number eventually die of it. The sad truth is that the dangers are almost everywhere since an estimated 200,000 Americans are living with contaminated lungs today.
While mesothelioma is the most dreaded disorder associated with Asbestos, Asbestosis is yet another chronic lung disease linked to Chrysotile asbestos. The accumulated fibers that damage the lung tissue are the primary causes of this condition. These illnesses being the two leading killers, it is depressing that a remedy is yet to be discovered. With the affected battling asbestos-related cases, compensations remain the only hope for their extended stay. Nonetheless, the Asbestos Law is there to help those who were duped to work oblivious to the dangers from continued exposure to asbestos.