Asbestos Fibers

Asbestos is a hazardous material that, if inhaled, can be very detrimental to a person's health. When asbestos was commonly used (dating back to early Roman times) people did not know the adverse reactions that the microscopic fibers caused. Asbestos was so widely used because it is heat and chemical resistant, has no odor or taste. Another distinct characteristic of asbestos material is that it does not evaporate or dissolve in water (this is a helpful aspect to be aware of when removing material from a home or building). These fibers are able to stay airborne for an extended period of time and can also be moved by wind or water. Whether or not they settle depends on how much space the fibers have to travel and for how long they are suspended. The larger the fiber, the more likely it is to settle rather than those that are small and lighter. Many industries took advantage of the material's strength and multi-purpose uses.

The fibers found in asbestos are extremely dangerous when let loose into the air. This makes people who are exposed to the material prone to the inhalation of the fiber dust. The fiber dust then finds itself lodged in the lining of the lungs where scar tissue is formed. Many people do not realize that because asbestos is so strong, the body is unable to break it down and eliminate it.. The more people exposed to asbestos exposure, the more likely it is they will develop health complications because of the scar tissue left behind. The fibers and scar tissue are able to remain dormant in a person's body for more than thirty years before symptoms become prevalent. By the time a person becomes aware of the symtoms, treatment and diagnosis procedures are less likely to be effective.

Some employers, however, did know of the adverse reactions of this substance and chose not to tell their employees what asbestos fibers could do to their bodies in future years. These manufacturers and employers are currently being severely reprimanded for their actions. Also, there have been many federal and state laws implemented that have banned the use of asbestos in the making of homes and commercial buildings. Those who worked with asbestos many years ago are now fighting deadly illnesses such as asbestosis, different forms of lung complications, and mesothelioma.