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Asbestos Exposure Claims
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the general term applied to a family of naturally occurring silicate minerals in fiber form. These fibers are durable, strong, resistant to heat and fire and because of their fibrous nature, they can be woven and fabricated into many different types of materials. Of the different many forms of asbestos fibers, three were most often used for commercial purposes:
- Chrysotile, or white asbestos, has been very widely used in the US. It is white-gray in color and found in serpentine rock.
- Amosite or brown asbestos.
- Crocidolite or blue asbestos.
Amphibole asbestos (e.g. amosite and crocidolite) is very dangerous because of the shape of its fibers: microscopically small needles. Workers of persons exposed to this type of asbestos inhale the dust, which then becomes trapped in the lungs. Over time, this can lead to asbestosis, lung cancer or malignant mesothelioma.
Which Products Contain or Contained Asbestos?
Asbestos-containing products are used to prevent the transfer of heat from one place to another, or to keep heat out otherwise known as thermal insulation. Nearly all insulation materials manufactured before 1975 or so did contain some asbestos. Many products have, at one time or another, contained asbestos, including:
Adhesives, asbestos cloth, asbestos cement pipe, brake and clutch assemblies, ceiling tile, duct insulation, fireproofing spray, insulating cement, pipe-covering, refractory and boiler insulation materials, packing materials and insulating block materials. As it was fireproof, asbestos containing materials were also used in the construction trades: acoustical tiles, transite board, gaskets, joint compound, vinyl floor tile, mastics, coatings, roofing products, insulated electrical wire and panels, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
Is Asbestos Still a Health Risk?
Yes! Asbestos is still a health risk as it may still be part of buildings that were built decades ago and that utilized asbestos containing materials in the construction or renovation of those structures. Asbestos-containing materials may be in factories, office buildings, ships, and other structures and products. Significantly, medical science believes that the latency period for malignant mesothelioma (the time it takes for a disease to develop and for the patient to notice or feel symptoms) may be up to 40 years after the initial exposure. The incidence of all asbestos related diseases increases with the intensity and duration of a person’s exposure to asbestos.
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