Health‎ > ‎

A Brief History of Asbestos

posted 27 Sept 2010, 04:37 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 27 Sept 2010, 04:38 ]

Asbestos is a rather remarkable naturally occurring
substance. Known as "rock floss" or "mountain leather", man
has found many uses for asbestos throughout the ages.

The word "asbestos" comes from the Greek name for
"inextinguishable" or "indestructible."  For thousands of
years asbestos has been admired for its heat- and
fire-resistant properties as well as its strength.

There is evidence that Egyptians, five thousand years ago,
wrapped the bodies of their pharaohs in asbestos in
preparation for their journey to the next world.

It's been found in ancient Scandinavian pottery.

It's been found in ancient Roman lamp wicks and table
cloths.  The easily cleaned their table linens by just
throwing them into a fire.  After which they just removed
them and shook them out.

As Industrial Age machinery spread through the US and
Canada, asbestos was used to insulate machinery and

Around 1880 large asbestos deposits were discovered in
Russia and Canada.  This marked the start of the modern
commercial asbestos industry.

By the beginning of the Second World War "rock floss" was
extensively used in a wide range of products that included
cement, insulation, packing materials, and nonflammable

It was used in everything from clutch facings and brake
shoes in cars to paper products, small kitchen appliances,
and wallboards in homes.

By the time of the Korean War began asbestos was used in
literally thousands of products, including cigarette

Within the next twenty years the deadly results associated
with the use of asbestos started to become more well known
by the public.

Then, in the 1970s, the United States government began to
ban the production of many products that contained this
substance.  Consequently, asbestos use started to decline

However, people who had regularly worked with materials and
products that contained asbestos had already been exposed to
the substance.  And an increasingly large number of these
people were succumbing to illnesses such as mesothelioma and

In addition, the family members of employees who worked for
ship building, construction, mining, and other factories
whose products used asbestos were also getting ill.  This
happened because asbestos fibers were being brought home on
the employee's clothing.

Today lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other illnesses related
to asbestos are being increasingly recognized as diseases
that were probably caused by second hand exposure to these

People who live close to asbestos mines may be drinking
water that contains the material.  People who live in homes
that were constructed with asbestos products may be
breathing in the fibers as these materials wear down and the
fibers are released into the air.

Asbestos fibers can be contaminating drinking water as it is
released from the cement pipes that are used to carry the
water or after it is filtered through water filters that
contain "mountain leather".

Because of these water-related risks the EPA now mandates
that water suppliers regularly test water samples.

The best way to protect you and your family from asbestosis,
mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related illnesses is to
limit the amount of exposure at work and at home.

About the Author:

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and believe that
it was caused by being exposed to asbestos then you may want
to speak to an asbestos lawyer to find out about your legal
options.  If so, got to => now.

Wendy Moyer on behalf of Sokolove Law.