Asbestos Awareness Week 2017

November 20-24 is Asbestos Awareness Week.

In recognition of Asbestos Awareness Week we thought we would provide you with 10 random/unknown facts about asbestos.

  1. Asbestos comes from the Greek word meaning in-extinguishable.
  2. Asbestos is a natural product that can be mined from the ground.
    • Asbestos was mined as early as 5,000 BC in Finland, Sweden, Greece, and Cyprus.
    • By 1970 more than 4 million tons of asbestos were produced each year from mines across the world.
      • Chrysotile is the most common type of asbestos and is mined in Quebec.
      • Amosite is predominantly mined in South Africa.
      • Crocidolite is mined in South Africa, Bolivia and Australia
  3. Despite the known dangers, in 2009, 2 million tons of asbestos were mined worldwide. With Russia and China being the largest producers
  4. Asbestos has excellent heat resistant and heat/cold insulating qualities, which made it the material of choice for pipe and boiler insulation, corrugated roofs, floor tiles, brake linings, cement and wall tiles.
  5. In 1820 Italian scientist Giovanni Aldini crafted fireproof clothing from asbestos.
  6. Exposure to Asbestos can cause Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma, and Asbestosis. But what’s the difference?
    • Lung Cancer – Asbestos fibres build up in the lungs damaging healthy cells
    • Mesothelioma – The most common cancer associated with asbestos exposure
    • Asbestosis – An inflammatory condition that caused scarring in the lungs.  It causes shortness of breath, coughing and irreversible lung damage
  7. The first recorded case of asbestosis is documented in 1924.
  8. The following occupations have asbestos contamination as a common part of their job:
    • Auto mechanics (using a compressed air gun to clean brakes releases millions of asbestos fibres into the air)
    • Constructions workers (asbestos containing materials can be used on the walls, ceilings, roofs, insulation and even glue under vinyl)
    • Firefighters (once asbestos containing material is burned it becomes friable, meaning it can be crushed by hand and fibres can release into the air)
    • Miners (miners who extract asbestos are at risk as are those who live within close proximity to the mine)
  9. In the 1950’s a British tobacco company introduced a cigarette that used filters made out of asbestos
  10. Asbestos snow was used in the poppy scene in the Wizard of Oz.