Whys of Asbestos Eposure

Asbestos exposure generally occurs when an individual inhales polluted air at workplaces where asbestos is manufactured or used. Asbestos fibers can get released in the air inside buildings that use asbestos when these structures are being torn down or undergoing renovation. Exposure to asbestos can lead to critical lung problems and cancer as well. This harmful substance has been detected in around 83 of the 1,585 National List Sites that have been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Asbestos refers to a group of six varying types of fibrous minerals, namely amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and the fibrous forms of tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite. These are found naturally occurring in the environment. Asbestos minerals are characterized by separable long fibers which are heat resistant and sturdy and elastic enough to be spun and woven. It’s because of these characteristics that asbestos has been widely used in a variety of manufactured goods, for instance, most types of construction materials (ceiling and floor tiles, roofing shingles, asbestos cement products and paper products), friction products (transmission parts, brake, and automobile clutch), packaging, heat-resistant fabrics, coatings and gaskets. Asbestos is also found in certain talc or vermiculite products.

What happens when asbestos is released in the environment?

Asbestos fibers can get released into the air or water and this is often caused due to the breakdown of manufactured asbestos products and natural mineral deposits. Asbestos fibers neither evaporate into air nor disintegrate in water. Small diameter asbestos fibers or dust can remain suspended for a long time in the air and they can travel long distances through air or water before settling down. In comparison, large diameter asbestos fibers and dust are likely to settle more quickly. Asbestos fibers and dust do not move through soil. Generally, these do not get broken down into other compounds and are likely to remain almost unchanged over prolonged periods.