This online resource was developed and created by the Seeger Weiss and Newsome Melton law firms to provide information for individuals and families about asbestos exposure. As a natural mineral, asbestos has been popular for years because of its heat and fire resistant fibers. Asbestos has been very useful for use in construction and other industries, and has been mined for these beneficial qualities. Asbestos has a high tensile strength, offers tough thermal and chemical stability, and insulates like no other material. The Seeger Weiss and Newsome Melton law firms provide help, supoort and legal representation for individuals and families who have been affected by asbestos exposure.
Asbestos used to be thought of as nothing short of a wondrous miracle. As a natural mineral that could stand up to heat and fire, asbestos was a very desirable substance to have. The Greeks were the first to mine this mineral which means “inextinguishable” or “unquenchable.” In today's world asbestos is well known for its unfortunate hazardous side effects, which can result in many diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.
There are two different forms of asbestos, and each one is distinguished between their crystalline structures. The first form of asbestos is known as the amphibole form. This type has many thin fibers that form together into a chain structure. Amphibole asbestos is broken down into five different types- amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite. Amosite asbestos is a very common type of asbestos found in buildings, and is actually the second most commonly used. It is also known as the brown asbestos. Blue asbestos, also known as crocidolite, is third most popular. The rest of the amphibole asbestos are very rare forms. The second form of asbestos is called Chrysotile and is found in 90% to 95% of all the asbestos found in the buildings in the United States. This asbestos is a thicker and shorter form when compared to the amphibole asbestos.
Asbestos can be very hazardous because of the fibers. When asbestos fibers become disturbed, the asbestos then becomes airborne, causing them to be breathed in by anyone in the area. Once the asbestos enters the body, there are many different health conditions that can occur, including when asbestos gets into the lining of the lungs and the body cannot remove the fibers.
Asbestos is only harmful when the fibers become airborne. If an area has asbestos in it, it needs to be carefully monitored to make sure that the particles do not become disturbed and that the area remains safe. “Friable asbestos” is used to describe asbestos fibers that can become airborne when a certain amount of pressure is applied to them. All fibers can become “friable asbestos” if they are ground in machines or sanded.
In the beginning, amphibole asbestos was thought to be more dangerous because of the long, thin fibers. Scientists thought that these fibers would be able to enter the lung tissue easier than the fibers of chrysotile asbestos, which are curlier. However, many research studies have shown that this is not true. Chrysotile asbestos fibers can indeed become lodged in a person's lungs. Asbestos is the sole cause of mesothelioma cancer.
There are a variety of uses for asbestos, but its main use is within duct and pipe insulation, building insulation, and also in wall and ceiling panels. Asbestos can be found in compounds that are made for spackling and patching, as well as in certain roofing materials, cement, brake linings and pads for vehicles, furnaces, floor tiles and toasters.
Those who were exposed to the greatest amount of asbestos worked in shipyards, construction industries, and as mechanics. In 1973, asbestos was banned for use in aerosol cans, and within a few years other materials followed.
Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos is at risk for various asbestos-related diseases, including malignant mesothelioma. Unfortunately, even those who have only been around the clothing worn by those who were exposed to asbestos have also developed asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos has also been proven to be the cause of conditions such as asbestosis and pulmonary fibrosis.