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December 16, 2017

Asbestos Definition


Asbestos Definition

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition
as·bes·tos   [as-bes-tuhs; as-ˈbes-təs az-] noun
1. Mineralogy. A fibrous mineral, either amphibole or chrysotile, formerly used for making incombustible or fireproof articles.
2. Any of several minerals (as chrysotile) that readily separate into long flexible fibers, that cause asbestosis and have been implicated as causes of certain cancers, and that have been used especially formerly as fireproof insulating materials

3. A fabric woven from asbestos fibers, formerly used for theater curtains, firefighters’ gloves, etc.
4. Theater. A fireproof curtain.

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

As defined for regulatory purposes, asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. These minerals readily separate into long, flexible fibers. The most popular form of asbestos is Chrysotile, known as “white asbestos”, which is a soft, fibrous silicate mineral that accounts for about 95 percent of all asbestos in commercial use, and is still utilized today. Chrysotile is falls in the serpentine group of phyllosilicates minerals and can look like flurry cotton. Other less common types of asbestos belong to the amphibole group, meaning they have long straight fibers. These include the fibrous forms of amosite (“brown asbestos”), crocidolite (“blue asbestos”), anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite.

asbestos definition

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

Due to its affordability and various properties such as tensile strength, resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage, and soundproofing ability, asbestos became commercially utilized at an amazing pace in the late 19th century. Asbestos fiber was used in brake linings, insulation of all kinds, drywall, joint compound, cement pipes, floor and ceiling tiles, mastics (glues), caulking, roofing materials and various other building materials. Asbestos fabrics were used for safety apparel, wiring, fire hoses, flexible connectors for HVAC equipment and theater curtains.

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

Asbestos mining began more than 4,000 years ago, and has a very interesting history, which is discussed here. “Asbestos” is Greek for “inextinguishable” and was commonly referred to as “the miracle mineral”. With the onset of industrialization in the late 1800’s, large scale mining of asbestos began in Canada, South Africa and the United States. For a long time, the world’s largest asbestos mine was the Jeffrey mine in the town of Asbestos, Quebec.

asbestos

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

The advent of the steam engine launched the industrial revolution and the modern asbestos industry. Asbestos was critical in the development of effective gasketing and heat-shielding materials. Henry Ward Johns formulated an asbestos-containing mixture that solved the problems of the steam engine and was used for insulating pipes. After his death, John’s estate was merged with the Manville Covering Company, creating the Johns-Manville Company, one of the largest producers of asbestos products. The J.P. Morgan financial group bought the John-Manville company and sales of asbestos soared by more than 1400% over the next 13 years.

asbestos definition

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

During World War II, the shipbuilding industry was one of the largest users of asbestos. From the 1950s to 1970’s era, asbestos became the number one construction material at one time, used more than wood, glass or metal. It is estimated that one-half of all multi-story buildings in the United States, built from 1950 to 1970, have (or had) some form of asbestos.

In the 1970s it was found that prolonged inhalation of the tiny asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and/or mesothelioma, all serious lung diseases. The incidence of mesothelioma is most commonly associated with extensive inhalation of amphibole asbestos. In 1989, the U.S. government instituted a gradual ban on the manufacture, use, and export of most products made with asbestos.

asbestos definition

Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition | Asbestos Definition

The first documented death related to asbestos was in 1906. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, researchers began to notice a large number of early deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns. The first diagnosis of asbestosis was made in 1924 and by the 1930s, the UK regulated ventilation and made asbestosis an excusable work-related disease. The United States followed suit approximately ten years later. The term mesothelioma was first used in medical literature in 1931 and its association with asbestos was first noted sometime in the 1940s.

The United States government and asbestos industry have been criticized for not acting quickly enough to inform the public of dangers, and to reduce public exposure. In the late 1970s, court documents proved that asbestos industry officials knew of asbestos dangers since the 1930s and had concealed them from the public. Asbestos is still used today in various products.

asbestos definition

Asbestos Definition

Asbestos Definition