The Health Risks Of Asbestos

1626 Words Nov 26th, 2015 7 Pages
Despite there having been concerns about the adverse health risks of asbestos dating back 2000 years it wasn’t until 1980 – 1990s that the use of asbestos became outlawed outright, phased out or heavily restricted in the majority of countries. In the UK Crocidolite and Amosite were banned in 1985 while Chrysotile was not banned until 1999.
The properties that made asbestos a valuable raw material also make it a health risk when it is inhaled. These properties include ability of the materials to split along their length into fine fibres that can reach the furthest part of the lung, and the resistance of the fibres to the chemical attack of the lung 's defences. Fine fibres are also more likely to be inhaled than coarse fibres because they remain suspended in the air for longer. The thin fibres that are generated when asbestos is handled can penetrate deep into the lung where they can cause disease.
The size of the fibre, its diameter, concentration, and length of time people are exposed will all affect the risk of developing asbestos related disease. There is strong evidence to show that blue asbestos is the most difficult fibre type for the lungs to deal with, followed by brown and then white. The reason being the friable nature (ability to crumble into very small fibres) of the different types of asbestos.
However, in sufficient quantity, all forms of asbestos can cause disease and the harmful health effects of asbestos related diseases can emerge decades after exposure…
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