Knowing asbestos facts could be an important way to be prepared about their dangers. The foremost fact we’re concerned with is its causal relation to mesothelioma. The fact is, asbestos has a strong link to victims who have developed mesothelioma. A (sadly all-to-common) tale is workers in the industries of construction and shipbuilding come in contact with asbestos and subsequently develop mesothelioma. The question is, however, how are these linked? How and why does asbestos cause mesothelioma? We’ve compiled a few facts to help set the record straight.
Asbestos is a mineral that, when found in mines, is fibrous, almost feathery, and very lightweight. Both of these factors—its extremely low density and its feathery attributes—make it a highly valued building material for a couple of reasons. For one, due to its physical properties, it traps a significant amount of air in between its fibers. This makes it useful as an insulation material. It was not uncommon for asbestos to be used on ships to insulate boilers and pipes. It was also used in construction, where it was often combined with concrete. This created a stronger, lighter concrete that was easier to ship and work with.
However, this fibrous consistency is also a big reason why asbestos can be so dangerous. When it’s disturbed (by workers handling the material, for example), particles of the mineral can become airborne, which makes them very easy to ingest or inhale. From there, the fibers can embed themselves in the lining of your lungs, which, after a period of latency, can trigger the onset of mesothelioma.
There are, generally speaking, two forms of naturally occurring asbestos. They are amphibole and sepentine asbestos. It’s possible to further categorize amphibole asbestos into additional types, including amosite and crocidolite.
Asbestos is a mineral found the world over. Particularly large asbestos concerns are located in South Africa, Australia, Canada, China, and Russia. Historically, Canada has been the world leader of asbestos mining.