Once upon a time, a particular mineral was one of the most commonly used materials in the construction of almost every building. That mineral was asbestos, a word that is now widely feared globally, although not many know why.
Luckily for you, we are here to clear that up! This mineral has an incredibly long history, starting from prehistoric times and stretching to the 20th century. And for a good reason! It offered something previously unimaginable – proper insulation.
Before using this material, humans were quite limited in their ability to protect their homes from the elements. Sure, as technology grew and the advent of concrete became more commonplace, so did its use in houses and buildings. But often, that was not enough.
Concrete is known to be a notoriously tricky thermal conductor. If you have ever had concrete floors, you do not need us to tell you how hard it is to keep them warm and how essential carpets are to houses with these. The same could be applied to concrete walls, which in the winter months, with windows’ help, leaked the heat from inside the house like crazy!
But the solution to this problem finally came at the start of the 19th century. Asbestos, an element that amazed ancient cultures as completely fire-proof, could do what no other material before it could do – sustain heat without releasing it to the environment.
It was not long before contractors began incorporating its fiber into the concrete. Soon enough, almost every house from the 1900s was being constructed with this type of concrete. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up!
However, what many people did not know was that blessing from the earth was a curse in disguise. In a matter of few decades, people would start to uncover the insidious truth about this material, destroying so many lives to this day.
Deadly disease strikes
If you have had a TV any time in the previous decade, you have probably seen one of those mesothelioma ads breaking up your program. You have probably wondered what kind of illness this can cause such a widespread campaign that is almost impossible to escape. Well, you can thank asbestos for that.
Namely, this mineral has been linked to this particular type of cancer for years. This terrible disease, which attacks the thing outer layer of all of our organs, is directly caused by the microscopic particles of asbestos that we inhale daily. Their sharp edges and abrasiveness injure our organs’ external lining and thus make it easier for fluid to enter them.
It is no coincidence that you hear so many commercials about this condition on TV. Indeed, according to some sources, a staggering amount of 50 thousand people die every year as a consequence of this disease. Unfortunately, that number has been steadily increasing since the 1950s. Read more about this terrible disease on this link https://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignant-mesothelioma/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival-statistics.html.
Although it is almost impossible to escape asbestos when it comes to structures built before the 1980s, you can still make sure that it has not been used in the house you intend to buy. Alternatively, if you live in a country that has not banned this material, you might have the option of refusing the suggestion of your contractor to use it. Here are some of the types of minerals you should avoid when considering this.
Different variations of threat
The first type you should look out for is called chrysotile, also known as white asbestos, which was most widely used in constructing roofs, floors, and walls, among others. This type was also used for everyday things such as insulation of pipes, appliances, and ducts, so make sure you keep an eye out for it in those hidden places too.
One of the most common types of this mineral to be used in the United States is that asbestos can be found even in the most innocent products such as asphalt, rubber, textiles, and brake pads. So, next time you take your car to the mechanic to ensure it is asbestos-free!
A material that could potentially contaminate chrysotile is anthophyllite which often takes on a pale green or gray color, almost indistinguishable from white asbestos. While this mineral was primarily used in limited amounts for construction supplies and insulation, it can still appear in your house’s foundation. Click here for more.
If your home is made mainly out of concrete, you should have it checked out for the so-called brown asbestos. Scientifically known as amosite, this material was used primarily for pipe insulation and in the cement sheets of our floors and walls. Therefore, it could be hazardous if exposed to it for an extended period.
Another type of asbestos that is particularly famous for its insular properties is tremolite. However, what makes it unique is its ability to be woven into a fabric, which used to fascinate ancient cultures. Its color can range from dark green to milky white, which is even more concerning considering you can find it in talc powder! In the past, not only was it used for insulation, plumbing, and roofing, but also wall paint!
Lastly, a type of asbestos you should watch out for is crocidolite. This type, also known as blue asbestos, has been linked to the most deaths and illnesses by far. Fortunately, it was not used as much because of its lesser insulation abilities, but you can still find it today in things like tiles, cement, and other insulation materials. You should ensure that asbestos on commercial properties is removed as soon as possible.
A couple of final words
So, what should you do about this? Our recommendation is to call a specialist as soon as possible because asbestos can rarely be detected without professional equipment. If you can notice it through your body, then you should head to the doctor immediately! Believe us, and there is no reason why you should wait to do this any longer than you have.