Asbestos is an incredibly tough silicate mineral, which was once used in the construction of everything from buildings to fireplaces. It was also frequently found in brake linings, because it’s extremely resistant to heat and fire. Unfortunately, asbestos (like many other natural minerals) has been known to be dangerous for some time now, and there are many people that are suffering from lung diseases as a result of asbestos exposure, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. While these are very real diseases, there are a lot of questions surrounding how these diseases are developed, and whether or not there are really any safe cures.
In the early stages of asbestos’ development, it was commonly used as a fire retardant in building materials. It was also used in brake linings, because it has the ability to resist heat, flame, chemicals, electricity, and sound. However, this kind of asbestos isn’t composed of single, tightly-packed, clear-cut strands of silica. In fact, it consists of several different types of fibrous threads, which are chemically bonded together. The six different types of asbestos fibers are known as serpentine, amosite, polypropylene, cellulose, selenite, and ferricyanide.
These serpentine fibers are primarily found in older buildings that have been built before 1970, which is when the vast majority of asbestos exposure occurs. Additionally, these fibers can come in the form of chrysotile, friable materials, and also asbestos dust.
Amosite and cellulose are two of the least common types of fibers found in asbestos products, which are rather rare as a whole. Based on where the asbestos is located and what stage it is in, workers may be exposed to these materials without ever knowing, which is why it’s so important to know how to protect yourself if you’re potentially exposed.