If we look to the history of asbestos as a commercially utilized mineral, there were many uses of asbestos. That’s because this mineral, at one time very widely mined throughout the world (and still mined to a large degree today), had many properties that made it incredibly useful to many industries, especially the shipbuilding and construction industries. Back at asbestos’s peak, in the middle of the 20th century, it was widely used despite concerns that it had ramifications for the health of workers exposed to it, concerns that had existed in one form or another since Greeks first mined and used the material over two millenia ago.
As previously mentioned, asbestos found its utilization highest in the construction and shipbuilding industries. Within the field of construction, asbestos was used as an insulator. Since it was such a fibrous mineral, asbestos can have significant amounts of air within it, which makes it a great insulator. It was also used as a flame retardant for similar reasons.
Primarily, however, asbestos was utilized as an additive to cement. Adding asbestos to cement had several advantages. Of significant importance was that it increased the strength of cement by up to tenfold. Because of this, less cement needed to be used for construction projects, which allowed for a) greater efficiency on the construction site and b) lowered transportation costs for the cement. It worked wonderfully for those reasons.
In shipyards, asbestos had somewhat similar applications. It was used as insulation for piping. In this capacity, asbestos was ideal because it was cheap, lightweight, and excellent at the task needed. Its use was not limited to pipes, as engines and boilers were often encased in asbestos as well.
Despite its apparent excellence as a construction supply, however, asbestos ultimately declined due to its incredibly negative side effect, namely, as the primary cause of mesothelioma.
If you or someone you love worked with asbestos in their line of work and has contracted mesothelioma, it might be a good idea to consider contacting a mesothelioma lawyer with a proven track record of success. A mesothelioma settlement won’t cure the disease, but it may help making the quality of life of a victim suffering from the disease a bit better.