Where does asbestos come from? Lots of people ask this question. In fact, a lot of people think that asbestos was invented. But it’s a natural substance.
Asbestos is fire resistant, strong, sound absorbent and electrical and chemical damage resistant. That’s why it has been used for years as a building material.
But now we know the dangers behind using asbestos, people are getting their homes tested and having asbestos removed every day. Find out where asbestos came from and how it’s been used over the years.
Asbestos is formed of 6 natural substances
The minerals that make up asbestos are underground and workers had to mine them to get them. People were mining asbestos over 4,000 years ago!
Asbestos looks like a sharp, pointed-legged octopus when you look at it under a microscope. This is why asbestos causes damage as the pointed legs embed themselves in the lungs of people who breathe the spores in.
Historical uses for asbestos
Asbestos was used for so many different reasons centuries ago:
- Ancient Egyptians used it in bandages for mummies
- Ancient Persians dipped dirty tea towels in asbestos to clean them
- Canadians started weaving asbestos into yarn and paper in the 1850s
- Countries around the world started using asbestos in construction
Asbestos was a miracle substance before we knew the dangers. It had so many good properties that we wanted to use it everywhere.
Scientists began to notice the effects
It wasn’t long before scientists started to notice that asbestos is linked with lung disease. In 1900, a doctor carried out a post mortem on an asbestos miner and found his lungs were covered in embedded asbestos fibres.
But it wasn’t until 1931 that the government introduced regulations for asbestos workers, and it was still used in buildings right up to the 1980s. That’s why it’s really important to get an asbestos survey if your home hasn’t been refurbished since then.
Next time someone asks you the question “Where does asbestos come from?” you’ll be able to give them the answer. The more people that are aware of asbestos and its dangers, the more people will be safe from it.
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