Living with asbestos-related illness : a self-care guide
Corporate Authors:United States. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. ; Minnesota. Department of Health. ;
Description:Asbestos is a rare, naturally occurring mineral with a chainlike crystal structure. Asbestos deposits can be found throughout the world. Deposits are still mined in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the former Soviet Union. Asbestos is usually found mixed into other minerals. Asbestos is dangerous only if its broken crystal fibers float in the air after being disturbed.
Over the years, asbestos has had many uses. Pipe insulation, automotive brakes, shingles, wallboard, and blown-in insulation are just a few of the products that once contained asbestos. Although the federal government suspended production of most asbestos products in the early 1970s, installation of these products continued through the late 1970s and even into the early 1980s. Asbestos fibers can be released during renovations of older buildings.
Nearly everyone is exposed to asbestos at some time in their lives because asbestos fibers have been frequently used in modern industry and they are also found in nature. The fibers float freely. These lightweight fibers can remain in the air for long periods of time.
The risk of developing asbestos-related illness varies with the type of industry in which the exposure occurred and with the extent of exposure.
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