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Asbestos: The miracle mineral that’s toxic to your health

Most people know that asbestos is dangerous for their health — particularly when it’s inhaled — but this is not the half of it. The reason why asbestos is such a problem — and the reason why so many people have come down with cancer and other diseases as a result of it — is because this “miracle mineral” is incredibly useful.

Asbestos: The miracle mineral

Asbestos is one of six types of naturally occurring minerals that have similar characteristics. It’s a fibrous material that is highly resistant to both heat and electricity. Asbestos also has useful sound-proofing qualities and it can resist the majority of chemical reactions. As a result, this material comes with an infinite number of industrial uses. We find asbestos in car brakes, adhesive materials, roof shingles, home insulation, fire-retardant clothing and paint.

Asbestos: The life-threatening danger to human health

Doctors and scientists started noticing a trend among asbestos mining employees in the early 1900s. What they found was that people who worked in and around this “miracle mineral” developed serious illnesses. The three primary asbestos-caused illnesses are:

(1) Mesothelioma cancer, which can appear in the lining of the lungs, chest, abdomen and heart;

(2) Asbestosis, which is a chronic respiratory illness; and

(3) Lung cancer, which is more common in people who have been exposed to other kinds of carcinogens.

By the late 1900s, governments around the world started putting restrictions on the way asbestos was used. However, the material is still common in numerous industrial applications because nothing seems to adequately replace its role. As such, many individuals are still at risk of being exposed to this potentially deadly (yet also highly useful) mineral.

Are you suffering from an asbestos-caused disease?

Individuals who contract asbestosis, mesothelioma or lung cancer may want to investigate whether they have contracted these illnesses as a result of environmental exposure — perhaps related to their careers or employment. In such cases, it may be possible for the person with the disease condition to hold another party financially responsible for injuries including the costs, damages, pain and suffering caused by the illness.