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Asbestos was used for decades in construction and shipbuilding. If you or someone close to you has worked as a drywaller, pipefitter, or in the Navy, you may have been exposed to harmful asbestos fibers. Learn more >

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Important Facts to Know about Asbestos

While many people have heard about health problems caused by the inhalation of the common building material asbestos, many are unfamiliar with what asbestos actually is, how it is used, and the types of health problems it may cause, including lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and mesothelioma.

It is important to understand where asbestos comes from, where it is used, and how you may be exposed to it at work, home, or other commonly visited areas. If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos and is suffering from the negative effects of mesothelioma, the information provided here should be a valuable resource for you in your time of need.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is most commonly associated with building materials and other man-made constructions, but the material is actually a group of minerals that naturally occur as bundles of fibers that are extremely useful in construction because of their heat-resistant properties. Asbestos may be separated into threads that are very durable, even when split apart from the bundle. While asbestos is very effective at resisting heat, it is also able to withstand fire, electricity, and chemicals.

The minerals are commonly divided into two groups that include:

  • Serpentine – This type of asbestos features long, weave-able fibers that include the chrysotile mineral. This type of asbestos is commonly used in construction due to the fact that it is easier to shape
  • Amphibole – This type of asbestos is not as popular in commercial use due to it’s brittle nature. The fibers are straight and thin and cannot be woven as easily as serpentine fibers

The information provided here is designed to give you a better understanding of the minerals that form asbestos and how they are used in different industries.

How Asbestos is Used

The heat, fire, chemical, and electrical resistant properties of asbestos makes it a very appealing for commercial use, especially when it comes to the construction industry. A mineral that is durable, yet resistant to the devastating effects of heat and fire can be very useful in many commercial applications, and it is estimated that there are over 3,000 commercial products that use asbestos.

Asbestos is commonly used for:

  • Home and building insulation
  • Sound-proofing
  • Automotive brake systems
  • Fire-resistant products
  • Textiles
  • Building materials
  • Floor tiles

While asbestos may not pose a health threat while the building material is intact, microscopic fibers may be released during demolition, construction, or remodeling and persons who breathe the fibers may suffer serious injury as a result.

Asbestos Exposure

Persons may be exposed to asbestos if materials that contain the minerals are broken, damaged, or intentionally demolished. Asbestos may be released into the air in the form of tiny, microscopic particles that can easily be breathed in and cause damage to a person’s lungs. The tiny fibers often cannot be expelled and may become trapped, eventually causing inflammation and other serious health problems.

The term mesothelioma comes from the inflammation of the mesothelium, which is the lining of the lungs. Asbestos fibers that have caused damage and inflammation to vital lung tissue may eventually cause the disease mesothelioma, which can be very serious and difficult to treat. Persons who have been exposed to asbestos may feel ill-effects in short time, while others may experience trouble later in life.

If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos and has developed mesothelioma or other health issues, it is important to visit a medical professional for an examination and it may be wise to consult an experienced attorney about your case.

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