Most people are familiar with the term “asbestos” and that exposure to it is associated with a rare but deadly type of cancer called mesothelioma. But few people understand what asbestos is, why it is so hazardous, and how they might become exposed.
Asbestos is the name used to describe a group of different naturally occurring minerals found in the ground worldwide. These naturally occurring minerals have high tensile strength, flexibility, and chemical and thermal degradation resistance.
Because of these good qualities, asbestos was mined, milled, and then incorporated into thousands of products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation.
How is Asbestos Exposure Dangerous?
Asbestos is made up of microscopic fibers that can easily become airborne. If swallowed or inhaled, the fibers can get trapped inside the body and lead to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases over 10 to 50 years.
Millions of people have been exposed to asbestos. Those most likely to have been exposed to these minerals known to cause cancer are those who worked with asbestos-containing materials, such as miners, factory workers, insulation manufacturers and installers, railroad and automotive workers, shipbuilders, plumbers, construction workers, and military veterans.
Types of asbestos
There are six different naturally occurring minerals that are classified as asbestos:
- Chrysotile – Chrysotile is the most commonly used asbestos, making up about 90% to 95% of all asbestos used in the U.S. It’s also responsible for most mesothelioma cases and other asbestos-related diseases. Chrysotile can be found in numerous products, including asphalt, brake pads, cement, plastics, roofing materials, rubber, and textiles.
- Amosite – Amosite is considered one of the most hazardous types of asbestos. Also referred to as brown asbestos, amosite is made of sharp, brittle, needle-like fibers. It is the second most commonly used type of asbestos, making up about 5% of asbestos materials used in U.S. buildings. Amosite can be found in cement, insulation, fire protection, roofing, and tiles.
- Crocidolite – Known as blue asbestos, crocidolite is considered the most hazardous type. It’s made up of extremely fine, sharp fibers. Studies show that crocidolite may be responsible for more illnesses and deaths than any other type of asbestos. Crocidolite was rarely used in commercial products but can be found in cement, tiles, and insulation materials.
- Tremolite – Tremolite has sharp fibers and is often found in other minerals such as talc and vermiculite. It was used in paint, sealants, insulation, roofing, and plumbing materials.
- Anthophyllite – Anthophyllite, with long, needle-like fibers, is one of the rarer types of asbestos and, as a result, was not used much in consumer products. Anthophyllite was occasionally used in various cement and insulation materials.
- Actinolite – Actinolite is made up of tiny needle-like fibers and is often used in cement, insulation materials, paints, sealants, and drywall products.
All types of asbestos are dangerous, and all have been associated with asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma.
The dangers of asbestos have been known for decades, yet some companies continued to allow their workers and end-product users to be exposed to this dangerous mineral without the proper protection. Now, it’s time for them to pay for their blatant disregard for the people’s lives.
Charlie Stern, Beasley Allen Lawyer
Contact a Mesothelioma Lawyer
We understand that your No. 1 priority is your treatment, and we will never do anything to interfere with that. Unfortunately, our experience shows that these giant corporations are often choosing profits over people. Until they are forced to pay, they will continue to disregard their employees’ and consumers’ health and wellbeing.
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma and want to pursue legal action, Beasley Allen’s mesothelioma lawyers can help you navigate a complicated mesothelioma lawsuit to help ensure adequate compensation for you and your loved ones.