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Forms of Asbestos

Asbestos was widely used in the U.S. throughout much of the twentieth century. It provided resistance to heat and fire for countless products at a fairly inexpensive price. Unfortunately, microscopic asbestos fibers also can cause the development of serious diseases, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Further, while the use of asbestos has almost ended, new cases of asbestos-related diseases are still diagnosed to this day.

Asbestos Types

Asbestos History: Though the use of asbestos goes back further, it became most prevalent beginning in the late 1800s. While asbestos provided many benefits in countless products throughout the twentieth century, it also caused significant health risks to those exposed to its microscopic fibers. These health issues include mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.

History of Asbestos: Significant Use in 1900s

Before the late 1800s, the process of mining asbestos was not mechanized. This meant that rock had to be manually chipped at in order to extract the asbestos. As the number of commercial applications of asbestos began to grow, demand also increased. This, along with advances in technology, industrialized the mining process. By the early 1900s, production of asbestos had grown to 30,000 tons annually worldwide.

Throughout the United States during the twentieth century, the use of asbestos was widespread due to its resistance to heat and fire, as well as its relative low cost. Asbestos in Pennsylvania – asbestos use was quite extensive in Pennsylvania due to mining and job sites that produced ships and steel. Exposure to asbestos, particularly over a long period of time, can cause serious health issues, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Asbestos in Pennsylvania

Asbestos could be found throughout Pennsylvania, including in four asbestos mines located in the southeastern part of the state. Asbestos is considered dangerous because its fibers often remain in the lungs for longer periods of time, which increases the risk of the development of mesothelioma.

Oil has been, and continues to be, an essential part of our lives. For a large portion of the time that oil has been used, asbestos was also used to protect against heat and the risk of fire. While asbestos was well suited for those tasks, it also posed a risk to people when its microscopic fibers were breathed in. Unfortunately, the asbestos risk for oil refinery workers is significant.

Asbestos and Refining Oil

Crude oil (or petroleum) is unprocessed oil that is extracted from the ground. It is then sent to industrial plants where it is processed and refined into products that are useable, such as gasoline, kerosene, and diesel fuel. These plants are usually large complexes with extensive piping that is used to transport fluids to the various processing units.

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