Sunday, April 7, 2013

Important Information Regarding Asbestos

by Sandip

What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a term used for a group of silicate minerals that occur as asbestiform fibers having high tensile strength, flexibility, and heat and chemical resistance. Tremolite is a hydrous calcium magnesium silicate with the chemical formula Ca2Mg5Si8O22(OH)2. Tremolite can occur in a variety of crystal shapes and sometimes occurs as asbestiform fibers.

What is the use of Asbestos
Asbestos is used commercially for their desirable physical properties. Asbestos fibers were once used in automobile brake pads, shoes, and clutch discs. Asbestos was used in the manufacture of ammonium sulfate for purposes of rice production, sprayed upon the ceilings, iron skeletons, and walls of railroad cars and buildings (during the 1960s), and used for energy efficiency reasons as well. Asbestos uses included fire retardant coatings, concrete, bricks, pipes and fireplace cement, heat, fire, and acid resistant gaskets, pipe insulation, ceiling insulation, fireproof drywall, flooring, roofing, lawn furniture, and drywall joint compound.

Who is the large producer of Asbestos?
Russia was the largest producer with about 50% world share followed by China (14%), Brazil (12.5%), Kazakhstan (10.5%) and Canada (9%).

Is Asbestos safe for use?
Six minerals are defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as "asbestos" including those belonging to the serpentine class chrysotile and those belonging to the amphibole class amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite. There is an important distinction to be made between serpentine and amphibole asbestos due to differences in their chemical composition and their degree of potency as a health hazard when inhaled. However asbestos and all commercial forms of asbestos (including chrysotile asbestos) are known to be human carcinogens. In the early 1900s 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 the UK in 1924. By the 1930s, the UK regulated ventilation and made asbestosis an excusable work-related disease, followed by the U.S about ten years later.

What is the adverse effect of Asbestos?
Asbestos is the main cause for mesothelioma.Asbestos can create serious health problems in the human body and can cause diseases like mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, respiratory complications and many more. In 1931 first time found that  the asbestos use is cause mesothelioma. Approximately 100000 people in USA have died from Asbestos exposure related to ship building. In the Hampton Roads area, a shipbuilding center, mesothelioma occurrence is seven times the national rate of USA. Thousands of tons of asbestos were used in World War II ships to wrap the pipes, line the boilers, and cover engine and turbine parts. There were approximately 4.3 million shipyard workers in the United States during WWII; for every thousand workers about fourteen died of mesothelioma and an unknown number died from asbestosis. All types of asbestos fibers are known to cause serious health hazards in humans. While it is agreed that amosite and crocidolite are the most hazardous asbestos fiber types, chrysotile asbestos has produced tumors in animals and is a recognized cause of asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma in humans.

Which steps taken to prevent people from Asbestosis?
In order to protect people from harmful effects of asbestos, the Health and Safety Executive has joined hands with asbestos training industry, who would give free training to all trades people and maintenance workers till November. The HSE said they have been making repeated announcements to all trades people and maintenance workers to opt for this free plan. Paul Spurrier, the HSE Head of operations in Yorkshire and Humber, was of the view that some hours in front of the computer would give them benefit. The HSE informed that asbestos could be found anywhere and recently they have fined the University of Lincoln to a total sum of £10,000 for leaving students at risk by exposing them to the risk of asbestos.

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