What is asbestos?
By Jeff Lakie
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring substance that is mined from the
ground and woven into fibrous material. Asbestos, by its very nature, it
heat resistant and it does not conduct heat very well, either. So at one
time that made it perfect for all kinds of industrial and manufacturing
Unfortunately, if we are exposed to a lot of asbestos over a long
period of time, it can build up in our lungs. This causes asbestosis,
which is an inoperable disease that increases in severity. Eventually,
even 30 years later, it will allow the growth of cancer in the lungs,
chest, and abdominal lining to develop. These, sadly, are also
In 1986 the Environmental Protection Agency banned the
manufacturing of all products containing asbestos. However, this was
later overturned by the US Court of Appeals. The court stopped the
manufacture of some asbestos-related products but allowed the
continuation of the manufacture of others. This decision helps people
remain safe because the products that will continue to be made with
asbestos do not come into contact with people very often.
Brake pads, for example, are one product that continue to be made
from asbestos because of asbestos' excellent heat resistant capability.
To date, no other substance has proven quite as capable of handing
heat the same way that asbestos has, so until an alternative is found,
asbestos will continue to me mined and manufactured.
Asbestos does occurs in nature and everyone breathes it and drinks it
because it is part of the air we breathe and the water we drink. In very
small amounts it is not dangerous. But in larger amounts it can be very
dangerous, especially if it is disturbed. Unfortunately, according to the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is estimated that 1.3
million construction workers face a harmful level of asbestos on the
Asbestos may also be found in homes built between 1930 and 1950,
and in insulation around older steam pipes, hot water pipes, and oil
furnaces. Once asbestos is disturbed, that's when it becomes airborne
and the threat of breathing it in is increased. If you think there is
asbestos near where you live, do not disturb it! Instead, contact the
Environmental Protection Agency and let the professionals take care of
About the Author
Jeff Lakie is the founder of Asbestos Information a website providing information on Asbestos
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