What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring, fibrous minerals which is mined for its functional properties: it increases flexibility and durability and is a powerful fire-retardant and binding agent. Asbestos was used commercially for many years, especially up until the1970′s, and was a primary ingredient in thousands of industrial materials and construction products. While useful, asbestos fibers are extremely dangerous to human health when inhaled and can cause a variety of health issues, including asbestosis and lung cancer, and is the only known cause of mesothelioma.
Asbestos is broken down into two subgroups: the amphibole family and the serpentine family. The amphibole family includes crocidolite (known as “blue asbestos”), amosite (also known as “brown asbestos”), tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite. The serpentine family consists only of chrysotile (known as “white asbestos”). In spite of Chrysotile’s dangerous properties, it was extremely popular in industrial products and accounts for approximately 90% of the asbestos used commercially in the United States.
Friable Versus Non-Friable Asbestos
Friable asbestos refers to any asbestos-containing material that is easily crumbled or crushed by hand. Friable asbestos is extremely dangerous because when it is crushed, it can release millions of tiny, toxic particles into the air, which can be easily breathed and then lodge in the lung tissue.
Joint compound, thermal insulation and dry wall are materials that commonly contain friable asbestos. On the other hand, non-friable asbestos must be cut or chopped in order to release asbestos into the air.
The attorneys at Connelly Asbestos Law have been working with victims of asbestos-related disease for many years. If you believe that you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and has become sick from it, please contact us.
Common Asbestos Acronyms
AHERA – Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act
ASHARA – Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Reauthorization Act
CAA – Clean Air Act
CFR – Code of Federal Regulations
FR – Federal Register
NESHAP’s – National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants
NDAAC – National Directory of AHERA Accredited Courses
PLM – Polarized Light Microscopy
TEM – Transmission Electron Microscopy
TSCA – Toxic Substance Control Act