The Real Story of Asbestos

More than 4,500 years ago, Finnish potterymakers detected a stone make use of thin fibers that mingled really well with the clay theyused to realize flowerpots. This stone was so strong, and yet adaptable, that they could use it to make their containers thinner and bigger than ever. Plus, it wassurprisingly resistant to heat, so the jackpots could support things like sizzling metal. It seemed like a supernatural stone, and eventually, the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all started working it, very. That boulder was what we now call asbestos, andeventually, we found out that it was too good to be true and stopped consuming it so much better. But that took a while. The statement asbestos actually refers to six differentminerals that all have the same habit, or path that their crystals develop. Theyre called asbestiform, which only meansthat they proliferate in long, thin, resilient fibers. That flexibility, plus their forte andresistance to damage by hot and draconian compounds, seen these minerals unbelievably helpful in industry.The problem is, breath asbestos fibers can be dangerous.Because to your lungs, those flexible fibersare more like abrupt little shards. You are likely imagine what happens if youbreathe them in: they get stuck in the mucus stringing of your lungs, which can make it difficultto breathe. Inhale too many shards over experience, and theycan cause maladies like asbestosis, or disfiguring of the lungs, and mesothelioma, a type oflung cancer. The different forms of asbestos with the most prominent healthrisks are a part of a group of stones called amphiboles, and what constitutes them start morehealth topics than others comes down to four of their chemical and structural assets. First, amphibole fibers are smaller, so theycan walk deeper into the lungs. Theyre likewise sharper, so they can pierceyour lungs more readily, stimulating rednes or initiating scar material. Plus, theyre hydrophobic, or water-avoiding, which can keep them from dissolving in mucus — if they evaporated, they could be coughedup and get out of your system.Finally, they contain iron, which are capable of reactwith oxygen in your lungs and detriment the DNA in your lung cadres. The damaged DNA can then offset the cadres todivide too quickly, leading to a tumor. So they may be more carcinogenic, or cancer forming, as well. So, how did asbestos run from being the miracle-rockof ancient potters to the scourge of modern industry? Even as far back as the Roman Empire, some2, 000 several years ago, historians wrote about slaves get what they called a sickness ofthe lungs after working in the area of asbestos mines.And when the first commercial asbestos minesopened in Quebec in 1879, asbestos-related health matters started testifying up in medicaljournals and action reports. One of the first well-studied deaths was in1 924 in the UK. Nellie Kershaw, whod been spinning asbestos into wool since she was1 3, died at the age of 33 from asbestosis. When Parliament heard about the instance, theyasked a doctor known as E. R. A. Merewether to investigate the health of asbestos laborers. For two years, he studied 374 craftsmen at anasbestos textile plant. He pointed out that inhaling asbestos fibers started scarring in the lungs– and 17 out of 20 workers who had been there for more than 20 years objective up with asbestosis. Merewether presented his paper to parliamentin 1930, and the UK started asking breathing in asbestos factories a year later. But it wasnt until 2003 that asbestos wasbanned throughout the European Union.The asbestos industry in the United Statesis a whole other floor. Asbestos was used a lot during World War II, since it was cheap, strong, and resistant to fire and substances. Naval war ships usedasbestos separation, and buildings were constructed with asbestos floor tiles, shingles, cements, and insulation for pipings. Production of asbestos in the United Statesfinally started to slow down 1979, when nine asbestos producers filed a litigation againstthe federal government departments. In 1975, theyd paid $69,000 to an asbestosworker who developed asbestosis, and they wanted to be reimbursed. But the government wouldnt have any ofthat. Instead, they proved that the companies known about, and had been disguising, asbestos-relatedhealth information for decades. The suit got a lot of media attention, andpeople started to try to fix the problem by removing asbestos from buildings.But theUS still hasnt alone restricted the use of asbestos. Even so, asbestos wont cause state issuesfor most people. Most of the fibers are so tightly secured intoanother material that they won’t escape into the air unless youre trying to remove theasbestos. Plus, each year we each breathe about a millionfibers only from the natural erosion of asbestos-containing cliffs. So unless youre an asbestos employee whosspent a lot of years without a ventilation disguise, or youre an ancient Finnish potter, you probably dont have to worry about getting an asbestos-related illness. Thanks for watching this chapter of SciShow, which was brought to you by our patrons on Patreon.If you want to help support thisshow, just go to patreon.com/ scishow. And dont forget to go to youtube.com/ scishowand subscribe !.

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