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What Have we Learned?

ASBESTOS

Asbestos “is a term that refers to six naturally occurring silicate minerals. All are composed of long and thin fibrous crystals; each fiber being composed of many microscopic 'fibrils' that can be released into the atmosphere by abrasion and other processes.” Source

Historical Uses
• Dating back as far as 4000 BC it is believe asbestos was being used for household items such as candle wicks, strengthening pottery and making it fire resistant, as well as tablecloths and napkins; by sewing the cloth-like fibers together

• In the late 1800s asbestos became widespread across commercial industries as a great insulator that was fire, chemical and water resistant

• With the first commercial asbestos mines beginning in Canada, other countries like Scotland, Germany, and England followed suit

• Water pipes, brake linings, cement sheets, high-pressure gaskets, flooring, roofing, outdoor furniture, yarn and so much more

DID YOU KNOW? There is a town in Quebec called Asbestos, it used to be home to the largest Asbestos mine in the world... there has been recommendation for a name-change in the past years due to its now negative connotations

What have we Learned?

In 1906, the first death related to asbestos was documented. According to the World Health Organization, “All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans. Exposure to asbestos, including chrysotile, causes cancer of the lung, larynx, and ovaries, and also mesothelioma (a cancer of the pleural and peritoneal linings). Asbestos exposure is also responsible for other diseases such as asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs), and plaques, thickening and effusion in the pleura.

Currently, about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace. Approximately half of the deaths from occupational cancer are estimated to be caused by asbestos. In addition, it is estimated that several thousand deaths annually can be attributed to exposure to asbestos in the home.”

Last week we discussed the impact Arsenic has had on mankind over history, and this week we have delved into the terrifying effects of Asbestos. What will research teach us next? With so much still left to the unknown, it seems foolish not to follow the guidelines research has provided us with regarding our health and safety today.