Humans have been using asbestos for thousands of years from the B. C’s for wicks and clothing up to this day for thousands of uses from walls to insulation, in Australia we mined for Crocidolite Asbestos more commonly known as blue asbestos to use and sell in construction because of its insulating ability, strength, flexibility and many other properties.
Danger of asbestos make you have to caution when you traveling to Australia. Below i will explain why.
Because of its adverse health risks, asbestos is still mined in other countries such as India and Russia, but asbestos was entirely banned in Australia in 2003. When asbestos is broken it releases sharp fibres into the air which when inhaled into the lungs cause abrasions and cuts which over time can develop over time into the following diseases:
- Lung Cancer
- Asbestosis or fibrotic lung disease
- Laryngeal Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Testes Cancer
- Pleural plaques
- Pleural thickening
All of these diseases are chronic, progressive and as of yet are incurable, the only methods we have to defend against all asbestos-related diseases is prevention and education. Remember if you suspect that there is asbestos in your home then do your research and get into contact with asbestos professionals to discuss your concerns, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
One of the first notes in asbestos-related illness began in 1897, an Australian doctor attributed pulmonary troubles in one of his patients to asbestos dust inhalation. In 1906 the first documented death of an asbestos worker from respiratory failure was recorded by Dr. Montague Murray in a London hospital, the autopsy revealed large amounts of asbestos in his lungs. Reports began to surface of worker deaths from ‘fibrosis’ in plants around the worlds including France and Italy who also confirmed that asbestos workers were dying unnaturally young. Despite these consistent health warnings asbestos continued being mined at a higher and higher rate as demand ever increased, asbestos continued to be a cost-effective, mass-produced construction material.
Asbestos manufacturing was not flourishing industry right out of the gate. It was only until the late 1800’s when the beginning of the Industrial Revolution helped grow and steady the asbestos industry. Different types of asbestos began to be discovered around the world and mining operations to extract the fibres started. Australia started to mining asbestos in New South Wales in the 1880’s. The types of asbestos were slowly revealed, and their uses became broader. There are six types of asbestos:
- Tremolite Asbestos
- Actinolite Asbestos
- Anthophyllite Asbestos
- Chrysotile Asbestos
- Amosite Asbestos
- Crocidolite Asbestos
At first, asbestos mining was done purely by manpower but as the need and want for asbestos grew asbestos mining became industrialised. Its production multiplied by steam-driven machinery and new mining methods. By the early 1900s, asbestos production had increased to more than 30,000 tons annually worldwide. Women and children were sent to prepare, card and spin the raw fibres, while men remained in the mines harvesting the fibres. These workers often died tragically young often from respiratory problems, there were little safety regulations, and often workers would return home covered from head to two in asbestos fibres.
In Conclusion, asbestos has caused early deaths and many diseases. Although a ban in Australia was a big step forward there, still remains tons of asbestos in Australian homes, businesses and schools which has yet to be removed. Mostly those buildings built before the 1980s. Therefore, it causes serious concerns for the owners of the building. Asbestos removal is the only solution for those buildings although it is not cheap. The price of asbestos removal is different in every place. For example, the cost in of asbestos removal Melbourne will be different from Perth or Adelaide.
Sadly, asbestos still can be found in countries around the world. The undeveloped countries have been targeted by the industry because of their need for materials, the affordability of asbestos and the lack of education.