Posts Tagged ‘asbestos uses’

Important Asbestos Facts

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

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.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit $14 Million-Plus Award

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Another mesothelioma lawsuit has recently been settled in the plaintiff’s favor.  According to a blog post published today (May 24) on Asbestos.com, a 59-year-old man in the Miami area has been awarded over $14 million because of asbestos exposure he was subjected to while working.  This asbestos exposure later caused the man to develop peritoneal mesothelioma.  (The “peritoneal” element of this particular mesothelioma indicates that this cancer had attacked the lining of his abdomen, not necessarily the pleural lining of his lungs.)

The judgment decided against the defendant, Union Carbide, who was found to be negligent for selling asbestos fibers to companies, such as construction equipment companies, who then used the fibers in the manufacturing of their products.  The man came into contact with these asbestos fiber-laden products in the 1970s, when he worked for his family’s construction company.

Though mesothelioma is an incredibly rare disease, it much more strongly affects those in an certain industries, especially the fields of shipbuilding and construction.  That’s because asbestos used to be a prized ingredient in many of the products used in those areas.  Asbestos uses in these disciplines was varied.  The mineral has excellent insulation and flame-retardant properties, and its light density set it apart from other similar additives.   Unfortunately, when inhaled, it also causes mesothelioma, a grievously lethal disease for which there is no cure.  In addition to workers in the aforementioned industries, the families of those laborers also were at higher risk of coming into contact with asbestos fibers, since they often got trapped in hair and clothing and taken home.

Once inhaled, asbestos fibers can remain relatively harmless in the lungs for anywhere from 10 to 50 years before triggering mesothelioma. Despite such a long latency period, however, once the disease is diagnosed, life it advances rapidly.  The life expectancy of a mesothelioma victim is often measured in months, and as previously mentioned, there is no cure for this devastating disease.