The Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant. There are three types of asbestos: chrysotile (which is white or greenish in color), crocidolite (which is blue in color), and amosite (which is a gray-green color). These minerals are made up of fibrous bundles which makes asbestos very strong. Pound for pound, asbestos is stronger than steel. It has been used not just for decades but for centuries, and has been used for a variety of purposes and in many different applications. It became very popular over the years because of its cost effectiveness, its versatility, and its remarkable fire and heat resistant properties.
Asbestos is still used in transportation in brake linings on airplanes, large trucks, and tractors. It is mined just like any other mineral.
Asbestos removal is an expensive and serious undertaking. Improper removal methods can create more of a risk than existed before removal. Asbestos removal is a primary concern in public buildings, such as schools, and in buildings that are going to be demolished. Removal is a very costly operation which must be conducted by highly specialized contractors and workers. Hasty elimination of asbestos insulation considerably increases the probability that controls will not be adequately enforced, thus allowing excessive airborne asbestos dust and presenting a high risk not only for the workers, but for building occupants as well. With the many health risks associated with asbestos, it is best left to a professional for removal.
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