The Industrial Revolution led to a rapid increase in the use of asbestos that continued until the mid-1970s. Asbestos could be found in just about every product made during the twentieth century and also found its way into homes and other buildings. Unfortunately, asbestos can be very dangerous, leading to the development of mesothelioma and other cancers.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally as bundles of microscopic fibers. When released into the air, the fibers can be breathed in and remain in the lungs for long periods of time. An individual may have these fibers in their lungs for decades before serious complications develop.
There are two main types of asbestos – chrysotile (known as white asbestos) and amphibole. Chrysotile was the most common type of asbestos used in industrial applications. Chrysotile fibers wrap around themselves in the shape of a spiral, which has led to chrysotile being referred to as “serpentine” or “curly” asbestos. Amphibole asbestos is straight and needle-like. It includes several different types of asbestos, including amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite. Both chrysotile and amphibole are known to cause cancer and can lead to the development of mesothelioma.