Archive Monthly Archives: September 2018

The History Of Asbestos

Asbestos has a long history, but these days you want to get rid of it due to the health risks, that’s why people hire us, an Asbestos Removal Liverpool company. Asbestos has been around in this world since the early period of the human civilisation. The resisting capability of asbestos against fire, heat, chemicals, and electricity has made it very necessary for every industries related to the manufacture and use of chemicals, construction, energy, automobile, power, etc. Asbestos has also been used by the armed forces in many countries all over the world for the prevention of fires in different military locations.

The actual purpose for the use of asbestos over the time since the ancient era was to prevent people from getting affected by fire, chemicals, heat and electricity. However, every industrialists and manufacturers of products containing asbestos and asbestos fibres have always been aware of the harmful health effects and fatal diseases caused due to the working with asbestos minerals. Even though people are aware about the fact that these minerals can cause different fatal and serious diseases and have tried to protect themselves from the serious health effects by using asbestos products in a safe way, asbestos has always stayed as a big threat to the health of people. The main reason behind this is that the symptoms of the diseases that can be caused due to its exposure doesn’t start developing even in many decades and when it does, it is very hard to stay away.

Asbestos in the Ancient Era

Asbestos is found in every continent all over the world in its natural form. Archeologists have detected some fibres of asbestos in debris which is found to be dating back to about seven hundred fifty thousand years ago in the Stone Age. They have also claimed that lamps and candles had their wicks built with the help of long fibres of asbestos during the 4000s B.C. period.

Clothes made up of asbestos fibres were used for wrapping the bodies of Egyptian pharaohs during the time of 20th century B.C. to 30th century B.C. Archeologists also found some clay pots which include the fibres of asbestos used during the mid-20th century B.C. These fibres can be used for increasing the strength of clay pots. Since asbestos fibres are resistant to fire and chemicals, it can also be an advantage for pots built with these fibres. A classic Greek historian mentioned during the middle of 4th century B.C that the dead bodies were wrapped with coverings containing asbestos fibres before they were placed in the pile of woods for taking to funeral. It is believed that doing this can prevent the ashes of the dead bodies from getting mixed with the ashes of fire.

Asbestos during the Middle Ages

During the middle of the 7th century, French King Charlemagne is said to have used tablecloth woven with the fibres of asbestos for preventing it from getting accidental fires which usually used to happen during the time of celebrations and feasts. In the same way as the Greeks in the ancient era did, King Charlemagne also used asbestos-containing materials to cover up the dead bodies of his soldiers and generals. It is also believed that cremation clothes, wicks for temple lamps and mats were designed with the help of Chrysotile asbestos and Tremolite asbestos brought from Cyprus and northern region of Italy during the beginning of second millennium.

During the ending of the 11th century, the knights from France, Italy and Germany used “trebuchet“, which is a type of catapult to place flaming bags containing tar and pitch wrapped with bags designed with the fibres of asbestos in the city walls during the period of blockades. In the year 1250, popular Italian explorer Marco Polo mentioned about the different types of clothes designed by the Mongolians with the use of a non-flammable fabrics. At that time, people used to believe that asbestos was produced from the hair of wooly lizard. But, Marco Polo went to China to visit an asbestos mine to prove the thoughts of people wrong.

During the period 1680 to 1725 in the reign of Russian emperor, Peter, the Great, Chrysotile asbestos was mined. One of the founding fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin visited Russia for the first time in 1725 during his young age and brought a purse designed with non-flammable asbestos to England, which is now included in the Natural History Museum collection in London. In the early 18th century, papers designed with asbestos were found in Italy and just within the starting of the 19th century, the government of Italy had started producing its bank notes with fibres of asbestos. During the period of mid-19th century, the fire brigades from Paris used to wear jackets and helmets designed with asbestos.

Commercialization of Asbestos

Before the later 19th century, the manufacture of Asbestos products in industries wasn’t so beneficial and Asbestos was rarely used for manufacturing products. By the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the Asbestos product market started growing and started taking a strong place in the industry. This time period marked the starting of the commercialization of asbestos where asbestos was practically used with its different minerals for the manufacture of products in industries. Ever since the asbestos product market started flourishing, the Asbestos mines and use of asbestos for the manufacture of products started growing with very high rate. Along with this, the harmful health effects and fatal diseases started attacking the people who worked in Asbestos mines as well as those who refined the Asbestos minerals.

Due to its capability to resist fire, heat, water, electricity and chemicals, Asbestos has been used as an outstanding insulator in ovens, electrical generators, turbines, boilers and steam engines. These are the main machines and products that helped in flourishing the Industrial Revolution. Also, the ability of asbestos to get hammered or pressed without getting destroyed helped it play an important role for developing, binding and increasing the strength of materials in the industries.

Starting of Asbestos Mining Everywhere

During the early 19th century, blue asbestos (i.e. Crocidolite) was discovered in Free State of South Africa. In the year 1876, white asbestos (i.e. Chrysotile) had been detected in south-eastern part of Quebec, Canada in the Thetford Township. After the discovery of Chrysotile, the first-ever commercial asbestos mines were developed in Canada. At that time, Russians used to dig in to get the soft, fibrous types of minerals. Canadians followed the same process after the Russians. These soft form of minerals are usually found in most part of every products manufactured with the use of asbestos.

During the third quarter of the 19th century, the industries using asbestos in large scale were established in the United Kingdom (mainly in England and Scotland) and Germany. At this time, Italians were already working the asbestos mines for Tremolite mining for many years. In the 1880s, Australians also started mining asbestos in Jones Creek of New South Wales. Anthophyllite asbestos had already been mined in Finland during the beginning of the 20th century. At this period of time, brown asbestos (i.e. Amosite) was first mined in Transvaal of South America. The people in asbestos mines of Zimbabwe and Swaziland also mined Chrysotile and started providing the asbestos minerals to the whole world.

Rapid Growth in Asbestos Production

Asbestos mining didn’t have automated machines until the time of the early 19th century. People engaged in asbestos mining used to perform the chipping of rocks and finally extracting asbestos minerals by themselves which was later transferred for further processing by transporting with horses. By the time of the Industrial Revolution and demand for commercialization of asbestos, the asbestos mining prospects were starting to get industrialized and the marketplaces started flourishing. With the invention of modern mining techniques and machines run by steam, the number of people working in commercial field of asbestos mining started growing rapidly. During the early 20th century, over thirty-thousand tons of asbestos were produced every year all over the world. People working in asbestos manufacturing industries were not only men, but the number of women and children involved in this field was also increased. By the time children and women started working in the industrialized asbestos workforce, they had started producing, carding and spinning the raw forms of asbestos fibres. At the same time, the work had turned more easier for men since they were just involved in the toiling of asbestos mines.

With the commercialization of asbestos, many people started using asbestos-containing products and the number of clients was getting higher quickly. In the year 1858, Henry W. Johns established his company at the age of 21, which was named as the H.W. Jones Manufacturing Company located in Lower Manhattan. His company used to promote products such as non-flammable material used in roofs of building. These materials were designed with asbestos, tar, burlap and other major resources. H.W. Jones Manufacturing Company was using Anthophyllite asbestos transported from a quarry near to Staten Island. His company had already fostered the utilization of asbestos to a very high level before his death in the next four decades due to asbestosis. Later, his company was combined with the Manville Covering Company in the starting of the 20th century and was named as Johns Manville. This firm had already grown to become the biggest asbestos-using enterprise in the United States.

During the end of the 19th century, a British firm named Ferodo developed the earliest brake linings for carriages which don’t require horses. By the end of the 19th century, the first policy for the production cement sheets with the use of asbestos was issued in Germany. Austrian company Klinger produced asbestos gaskets containing high amount of pressure for the first time in the year 1900. By the end of the mid-1910s, Italians had already manufactured pipes with the use of asbestos for the first time.

In the East Coast and California of the United States, the asbestos mines started reaching the peak with many different operations counting to about a dozen during the second and third quarter of 20th century. West-central California-based asbestos mine, the King City Asbestos Company was the most recently operated asbestos mine which had to disappear by the year 2002.

Presence of Asbestos in Products

There are several reasons behind the heavy growth in the manufacture and use of asbestos-containing products ever since the 20th century started. When the number of industries focusing on construction materials had started growing, the necessity of products containing asbestos started getting larger over the period of time.

Different vehicles were invented during the 20th century in the perspective of the United States. Due to this, the requirement for more durable roads was also felt. In the second quarter of 20th century, many roads were constructed in the United States with the help of asbestos-based asphalt concretes.

Different Products which contain Asbestos

  • Compounds necessary for roofing flooring
  • Clutches in automobiles and airplanes
  • Insulation for electric wiring
  • Cements
  • Mill-board and Paper for electric panels
  • Brake pads, linings, seals and gaskets in cars and airplanes
  • Fillers and Re-enforcement needed for plasters, paints and caulks
  • Thermal insulation needed in buildings
  • Steel girders coated with spray-on and non-flammable materials in buildings
  • Packing materials free from acids and heat

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is incredibly dangerous, which is why we offer Asbestos Removal Liverpool. Asbestos is a group of six different silicate minerals occurring naturally in the environment in the form of fibres. These minerals can be turned into thin and durable threads to use in commercial as well as industrial scale. These durable fibres can easily resist heat, fire and chemicals. They are also an insulator to electricity. These are some of the major reasons on why asbestos is usually used in many factories and industries as well as shipyards, mines and mills. Some other minerals like erionite can also be found in our environment which are similar to asbestos.

The six minerals are the compounds of silicate in their chemical form. They consist of oxygen and silicate atoms in their molecular structure. All of these minerals have common eponymous asbestiform habit. These minerals include long and thin fibrous crystals having an aspect ratio of around 1:20. Each fibrous crystal consists of infinite microscopic fibrils which are released due to the processes like abrasion. These minerals can be separated from each other by looking at their colors. Some of them are green asbestos, brown asbestos, blue asbestos and white asbestos.

These silicate minerals can be distinguished in two groups; one is Serpentine asbestos and the other is Amphibole asbestos. The first asbestos (i.e. Serpentine asbestos) consists of mineral Chrysotile having long and curly fibres. These fibres can easily be woven. The mineral chrysotile form of asbestos is usually used in a large scale in different commercial fields. The next asbestos (i.e. Amphibole asbestos) consists of different minerals like Amosite, Anthophyllite, Tremolite, Actinolite as well as Crocidolite. This form of asbestos includes straight fibres in the shape of a needle. These fibres are highly brittle in comparison to the fibres in serpentine asbestos. However, they don’t have a maximum ability of fabrication. These two forms of asbestos minerals have been recognized by the Government of the United States and have been mentioned in the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) in 1986.

The bundles of asbestos-containing fibres are soft, microscopic and flexible. Pure asbestos can act as a highly effective insulator and can be used to increase the strength of different materials like plastic, paper, cloth and cement by combining with them. Due to these specialties of asbestos, it has been proved to be highly profitable for businesses in commercial scale. However, when the fibres of asbestos get trapped into human body due to heavy exposure to them in shipyards, factories, mills and industries, different diseases can be received over time. Hence, asbestos is also a very toxic material that can result in very serious and fatal diseases. The executive figures of these locations have been trying different measures to prevent the health dangers of asbestos to their staffs and people residing near these places for many decades.

Asbestos is a very well-known material for playing the main role in causing different fatal diseases like asbestos-related lung cancer, pleural thickening, mesothelioma and asbestosis. These diseases can be developed in the mesothelium which includes organs like lungs, abdomen, chest and even heart and can take many decades for the symptoms to start appearing.

 

It may be helpful to look into the history of asbestos to learn more.

Even though AHERA has legalized the two forms of asbestos in the United States, different attempts for the regulation of asbestos and manufacture of asbestos-containing materials have failed. The main reason behind this is the restriction for different commercial agencies, businesses and industries to produce asbestos products. However, it is also legal to have just a single percentage of asbestos in all the products manufactured in the United States, but using more than 1% can be a threat. Despite the restriction to regulate asbestos in the United States, it has remained as one of the only few countries in the world where the use of asbestos is not banned.

Even though the use of asbestos in different products is limited to just a single percentage, different old machines and architectures have been using products containing asbestos in large scale since they were built and manufactured before AHERA was passed in 1986 and before the modern restrictions for the use of asbestos came into effect. Many industries and factories all over the world are still using asbestos from time to time in the present era. The use of asbestos-containing materials has stayed as a huge threat for affecting the health of living organisms in many countries like United States, China and India.

Why Is Asbestos So Dangerous?

It’s incredibly important to get asbestos removed from your premise, which is why we offer Asbestos Removal Liverpool. When the products containing asbestos are damaged or adjourned, the fibres get released into the environment. When living organisms inhale these fibres, they can be attacked by infectious diseases. However, you won’t be getting symptoms of these diseases immediately. It usually takes a lot of time for the symptoms to appear. Once you get diagnosed with these diseases, it would already be very late for you to perform any actions. This is the reason why you need to start preventing yourself from getting near to damaged asbestos-containing products.

Comparison of Normal Lungs and Lungs with Asbestos-related Diseases

Normal Lungs and Lungs with Asbestos-related Diseases

These are the main diseases which can be caused due to the exposure to Asbestos:

  1. Asbestosis
  2. Mesothelioma
  3. Pleural thickening
  4. Asbestos-related lung cancer

Asbestosis

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a serious lung disease which is caused due to the inhalation of heavy amount of asbestos particles. The symptoms of asbestosis usually don’t appear over the time of up to four decades. Asbestos is very dangerous. You may start getting the symptoms in around a decade or two. Some of the major symptoms include tightness in your chest, shortness of breath, enlargement of fingertips, persistence of dry cough, etc. If you start getting these early symptoms, you might need to go to the doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis. With the symptoms of asbestosis, you might even get pulmonary heart disease, lung cancer as well as mesothelioma.

 

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a strange type of cancer that starts developing from the thin membrane that covers different internal organs of the mesothelium such as lungs, abdomen, chest and even heart. Usually, the thin membrane lining of the lungs and chest wall are found to be common affected area with this fatal disease. Mesothelioma always appears due to heavy exposure to asbestos, first starting from asbestosis. Certain percentage of all people working with asbestos in mines and textile industries as well as shipyards using asbestos are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Other people working in factories where asbestos-containing gas masks are prepared also have high risk of contracting mesothelioma. If you are residing near these shipyards and factories where large amount of airborne fibres of asbestos are released, you might also start getting the symptoms of this disease which can later turn very fatal.

Pleural Thickening

Pleural Thickening

Pleural thickening is generally known as Diffuse Pleural Thickening (i.e. DPT). It is a lung disease which occurs due to the heavy exposure to asbestos-containing fibres. What exactly happens if you get diagnosed with this disease is that the lining of the lungs (i.e. the pleura) gets thickened due to extensive scarring. Some of the major symptoms of this disease include shortness of breath, pain in your chest, etc. Due to this, adverse effects like improper functioning of lungs can be seen in your body. This disease is not so dangerous, as well as not exactly a sign of asbestos lung disease. In fact, this disease is very common and not so fatal like mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Asbestos-related Lung Cancer

Asbestos-related Lung Cancer

Asbestos-related lung cancer is exactly the same as lung cancer which you can get by smoking and other habits. Similar to asbestosis and mesothelioma, this kind of lung cancer also takes up to four decades after the exposure to asbestos-containing fibres for the appearance of symptoms. Research claims that for every death due to the exposure of asbestos, there is around one lung cancer. Some of the major symptoms that can appear before the diagnosis of this fatal disease include wheezing, discomfort of your chest, shortness of breath, persistence of cough, loss of appetite, chronic infections regarding respiratory systems, etc. If you start developing these symptoms, you need to consult with the doctor or any well-trained medical personnel because the prognosis and treatment of this disease are highly dependent upon the stage of the lung cancer. If you are smoking as well as having exposure to asbestos-containing fibres, then you might have very high risk of getting asbestos-related lung cancer or any forms of lung cancer. Looking into the history of asbestos can be very helpful.