Asbestos is a mineral that is fibrous in nature, chemical resistance, fire-resistant and usually very strong. It can also easily be woven into cloth to make fireproof clothing. Despite asbestos being such an excellent substance, it is very dangerous and hazardous to labourers and employees, who work with it. It results in diseases like fibrosis, asbestos warts, asbestosis and even cancer. Mesolithima, a deadly disease, is the most fatal of all the diseases caused by exposure to asbestos materials.
Because of this, the use of asbestos, manufacturing and mining were banned in most countries a few decades ago. Still, some countries like China and India have not imposed a complete ban on asbestos. Still, the developed countries, that have banned asbestos are still reaping the repercussions of asbestos exposure. Diseases resulting from asbestos have a long latency period. Take, for instance, and mesothelioma may take up to 40 years to develop after asbestos exposure.
One problem with asbestos is that when mined and manufactured, lots of asbestos fibres and dust are released into the air. Since they are somewhat invisible and light, workers quickly inhale them. The real trouble starts after this since this fibres are very harmful when inhaled. When these fibres make contact with the mesothelium lining, they react adversely with its cells resulting in tumours. The tumours may appear in body parts like the abdomen, heart and lungs. These tumours may finally spread throughout the body and eventually lead to death.
The following industries have high-risk exposure to asbestos:
Since asbestos is very flexible, durable and fireproof, it is highly preferable in all construction materials. In some way, asbestos is usually present in cement, paint, sheets, and pipes, and so on. Not only the construction workers, officers in offices, children in school and all other faces a risk of asbestos exposure.
The generators and boilers of fire plants are mostly lined with asbestos. This is done to protect it from sudden fires and intense heats.
In the previous years, firefighters wore clothing’s woven with asbestos. This clothing gave rise to various health hazards because of asbestos exposure. Up to now when old buildings collapse because of fire, firefighters are exposed to asbestos.
Most of the items in ships like boilers, hot water pipes, incinerator insulations and boilers contain asbestos. Because asbestos is chemical-proof, fireproof, flexible and strong, it is popularly used in ship components. Because of this, shipyard workers are at risk of developing diseases that are related to asbestos, for example, mesothelioma. During the second world war, destruction and overhauling of old ships released a lot of asbestos, and as a result, many people were affected.
Asbestos is present in the thermal insulation materials that are used in steel mills.
While this article gives you some insights about how asbestos affects our various workplaces, this isn’t conclusive, and it is essential to be vigilant and take proper care ton to prevent asbestos exposure.