These days most people have heard about the dangers of asbestos. Many people learned about asbestos in recent years from seeing T.V. commercials or hearing about asbestos removed from building. This page is devoted to giving you some basic information about asbestos exposure. You can get more complete information about asbestos exposure by contacting us for your free Meso Guide.
Asbestos is a mineral that is mined from the earth. It is then milled and bagged and sent to plants where it is put into various products. Asbestos is banned in many countries, but is still not completely banned in the United States.
There are different types of asbestos. But they all cause mesothelioma. The most common type of asbestos used in the United States historically was chrysotile (white) asbestos. Some of the products that included asbestos in previous decades including the 1940s through 1970s include: automotive parts (brakes, clutches and gaskets), joint compounds and patching compounds, boilers, furnaces, pumps, valves, gaskets, packing, insulation, cement pipe, some cements and block, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and roofing products. Asbestos was purposely included as an ingredient in these and other products, or components of these products.
Other products contained talc that was contaminated with asbestos. Talc and asbestos typically exist together in the earth and talc is frequently contaminated with asbestos. Talc that was mined in Upstate New York was contaminated with asbestos. This talc was used for industrial applications such as in the manufacture of paints and ceramics. Many talcum powders used by both men and women also were contaminated with asbestos.
Another mineral that was contaminated with asbestos is called vermiculite. Vermiculite was used in attic insulation and was also used in a popular fertilizer. Vermiculite is the mineral that caused widespread asbestos disease in the Libby, Montana community.
Many other industrial and consumer products also contained asbestos throughout previous decades. In fact, many people would be surprised to know that a cigarette filter included in a mass-produced cigarette contained asbestos many years ago.
There are three main ways that a person can be exposed to asbestos.
First, a person can be directly exposed to asbestos from working with an asbestos-containing product. An example of direct asbestos exposure is a person blowing out brake dust after changing asbestos-containing brakes on a car.
Second, a person can be exposed to asbestos as a bystander. In other words, a person can be in the same area as the person directly working with the asbestos product. An example of bystander asbestos exposure is the person who is standing next to a person changing asbestos-containing brakes on a car.
Third, a person can be exposed to asbestos secondarily when asbestos-contaminated clothing is worn home and then a person has contact with the clothing or launders the clothing. An example of secondary or “take-home” asbestos exposure would be a woman laundering the work clothing of her husband who worked on replacing asbestos-containing brakes on a car.
A person can be exposed to asbestos and not even know it. Asbestos has no taste or smell. It does not itch. You cannot feel it when you are breathing it in. Asbestos particles are microscopic and can only be visualized as dust clouds when there are very large amounts of asbestos in the air. Asbestos exposure has no immediate effects. Instead, there is a latency period on average of about 40 years between the time someone is exposed to asbestos and the time that mesothelioma may occur.
For more information, contact us today for your free Meso Guide.