Building Materials Linked to Mesothelioma
From the early 1900s to 1978, asbestos was an important material used in the construction of offices, schools, and homes. Typically used as insulation, asbestos also proved useful in a wide range of construction uses. The most common uses are listed below:
- Roofing & Siding - this includes roofing shingles, roofing tiles, siding shingles, and clapboards. Roofing shingles and tiles are typically made using chrysotile or "white asbestos" and are comprised of a compound that is roughly 25% asbestos.
- Floors, Walls, & Ceilings - asbestos was used as a sprayed on or troweled coating for walls and ceilings until 1978. This form of asbestos use is considered very hazardous. Working with asbestos of this nature is classified as a Class I or Class II work hazard by the Occupational Safety and Health Association. Asbestos was often used in combination with vinyl or asphalt to make flooring tiles. Asbestos can also be used with cement to form a thin, durable sheet to be used near heat sources like fireplaces and boilers.
- Pipes & Boilers - Asbestos was and is often used with piping to prevent heat diffusion and improve energy efficiency. Asbestos use in piping includes asbestos-cement mixed pipes and fittings for water and sewer lines, as well as pipe wrapping and asbestos paper use to insulate pipes from the outside.
- Other - Other asbestos products include heat resistant protective clothing, cloth and blankets for welding and pipe insulation, and mixtures of cement and asbestos.
Asbestos was also used in the ship building industry for decades. Asbestos was primarily used as insulation for the ship's pipes and boilers, and as protection for the ship's floors and walls from the heat of the ship's engine. Asbestos was also used as lining for brakes and clutches in automobiles.
Asbestos Medical Dangers
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma. When disturbed, asbestos fibers may become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs. Exposure to friable asbestos (asbestos that is easily broken into airborne particles when disturbed) can lead to severe medical conditions. Unfortunately, these medical conditions incubate for years after initial exposure. Symptoms and complications from mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer may take anywhere between 5 and 30 years to materialize, depending on the severity of exposure.