A Brief History of Asbestos

Asbestos has a strange history. It has such unique properties, that it has been used for at least the last 4000 years. The toxic nature of asbestos has also been known for at least 2000 years. But the usefulness of the product has made people overlook the dangers of it. To this day asbestos can be found in many places and although we have developed other materials and processes to replace it, there is still the problem of what to do with the asbestos already in place.

  • Original Uses: There is evidence that as long as 4000 years ago, asbestos was being used in the making of clay pots and fabrics. The fireproof nature, and the strength of the fibres made it a prized mineral. Used mainly as a heat shield and a strengthener, asbestos continued to be mined and used for many purposes, despite the knowledge that it made people sick. In the industrial revolution, the production of asbestos increased, as new uses were found for it.
  • Modern Uses: With the development of heavy industry, it was discovered that asbestos had the right properties to be used in friction tools, it was widely used in clutch plates, brakes, and grinding tools. The dust from these devices was quite dangerous, but the method in which people became sick was yet unknown. Later it was discovered that asbestos had good insulating properties and asbestos fibres were pumped into houses and were wrapped around pipes. It also came to be used as fire protection for structures.
  • The End of Asbestos: Although asbestos is still being used in specialized applications the use of it worldwide has all but ceased. Only one form of asbestos (chrysotile) is still being mined. The other types are banned from export almost everywhere. It was discovered that the fibres of asbestos cause great damage when inhaled or ingested. Maladies from asbestos include asbestosis, and several kinds of cancer, particularly lung cancer. If you think they you may have asbestos in your home, you can contact asbestos removal contractors in Perth to find out for sure, and you can learn what your options are for removal.

Asbestos is now only mined in a few countries and its uses are quite limited. Mainly it is used as a strengthener for cement fibre boards. Although it can still be found in friction tools and in laboratories. But asbestos is now treated as the hazardous material it is, and it is being removed and replaced with modern materials worldwide.

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