Shining the light on asbestos

Asbestos is a toxic substance that is found in older buildings, as well as in cosmetics and products for children. As testing for its presence can be problematic, Hiroshima University Professor Akio Kuroda has been working ...

EPA rule would finally ban asbestos, carcinogen still in use

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed a rule to finally ban asbestos, a carcinogen that is still used in some chlorine bleach, brake pads and other products and kills thousands of Americans every year.

Interaction with lung cells transforms asbestos particles

A common building material, asbestos is the term used to describe a range of naturally growing minerals. Serious diseases, including mesothelioma and lung cancer, can arise decades after coming into contact with asbestos.

U.S. asbestos sites made risky by some remediation strategies

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) largely remedies Superfund sites containing asbestos by capping them with soil to lock the buried toxin in place. But new research suggests that this may actually increase the likelihood ...

Canada to ban asbestos by 2018

Once the world's top producer of asbestos, Canada said Thursday it will ban the heat-resistant fibrous mineral that is woven into building and other materials but which has been found to cause cancer.

Pressures rise on Canada to ban asbestos

Canada's largest union and the third party in the Commons ramped up pressure Wednesday on the government to make good on a promise to ban asbestos.

Amid move to end Montana cleanup, some asbestos left behind

Federal officials say their final analysis of a Montana community wracked by a deadly asbestos contamination shows a costly and much-criticized cleanup is working, even though some 700 properties have yet to be investigated ...

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Asbestos

Asbestos (pronounced  /æsˈbɛstəs/ or /æzˈbɛstəs/) is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, (1:20) thin fibrous crystals. The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses, including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma (a formerly rare cancer strongly associated with exposure to amphibole asbestos), and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis). Long exposure to high concentrations of asbestos fibers is more likely to cause health problems.This is most common among the miners of asbestos, since they have the longest exposure to it. The European Union has banned all use of asbestos and extraction, manufacture and processing of asbestos products.

Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the late 19th century because of its sound absorption, average tensile strength, and its resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage. It was used in such applications as electrical insulation for hotplate wiring and in building insulation. When asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibers are often mixed with cement (resulting in fiber cement) or woven into fabric or mats. Commercial asbestos mining began in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada and the world's largest asbestos mine is located in the town of Asbestos, Quebec.

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