Asbestos – a Continuing Health Danger

The Super Cool actor of the 1960s, Hollywood legend Steve McQueen, came down with lung problems which cut his life short at the age of 50.  This tough movie actor was stopped by an illness called Mesothelioma, a rare type of lung cancer caused mostly by asbestos.

Asbestos, the once hailed Miracle Mineral has now become the Devils Dust.  Asbestos is a name which was given to a group of 6 different, naturally occurring, fibrous minerals.  These minerals are (amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and the fibrous varieties of tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite).  The properties of these minerals contain strong, separable fibers that are heat resistant and flexible enough to be woven or mixed into thousands of products.

Products for the entire building industry were made out of asbestos and many still are today.  Asbestos was used in insulation, wallboards, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, roofing shingles, paper products, cement products, brakes and all types of heat-resistant fabrics.  Asbestos is still being mined right now, mostly in China, Russia, Canada, Brazil, Kazakhstan and Zimbabwe.

The danger with asbestos is that it is everywhere. It’s still in many peoples homes and it’s still used in many products today. The problems arise when that old asbestos board or insulation is damaged and then these tiny fibers float into the air.   The fibers then become inhaled and never leave your lungs.  As they accumulate in your lungs, many years later, they can develop into Lung Cancer, Abestosis and other serious health problems.  Asbestos removal is best left to professionals and many experts say that if the asbestos in your home is not damaged, it is safer to just leave it alone.

If you develop either Shortness of breath, hoarseness or wheezing. A persistent cough which gets worse over time or if you spit up blood, make sure to get an appointment with a doctor for your symptoms.  Hopefully it is not asbestos related, but if you have worked around asbestos or live around asbestos, then make sure to inform your doctor.

During the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Manufacturers were proud to put the name Asbestos in their product advertisements.  These days, asbestos might still be in products but it is not labeled as such.  Chrysotile asbestos is the only form which is still in commercial use today.  Be aware of your surroundings and keep your self protected from dangerous asbestos products and the toxic fibers they can give off.

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