Asbestos? What is it?
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring heat resistant minerals (chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite.) It was very popular in the construction of buildings, and navy ships from the 1930's to the 1979's. It was also widely used as an insulator in homes and to make cloth, paper, cement, and plastics sturdier.
When asbestos dust is inhaled or ingested, it can be very harmful to the body. These fibers get permanently trapped in the body and can cause scarring, inflammation, and even an aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma. Over time, asbestos was recognized as a serious health risk to humans. The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986 legally recognized six types of asbestos. It is not a banned substance in the United States, but it is high regulated.
Although it is not much of an issue today due to its decrease in popularity, it is important to recognize the risk factors and potential for significant health effects.
Risk Factors include:
Aircraft and auto mechanics
Building construction workers
Refinery and mill workers
- Workers removing asbestos insulation around steam pipes in older buildings
If you have questions about asbestos or think you may have been exposed, contact your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.